A visit to Tzu Chi recycling center by Visitation Church Recycling team on 31/5/2023

At the invitation of Tzu Chi Association, the Recycling Team (under PIHDM of Visitation Church) had the privilege to visit their recently opened Recycling Centre in the vicinity of Labu. The land on which the Centre is built on was donated by one of the members of the Association.To welcome our Recycling Team were Committee Members of Tzu Chi Association, Seremban Branch. The facilities at the Centre included an Exhibition Hall which showcased information on the severity of climate change, introduction to proper recycling methods, the consequences to Mother Earth if recycling is not practised now and the history behind the founding of Tzu Chi Association.Many materials used in the construction of the Hall and the Centre as a whole were derived from recycled items such as roof tiles which were from compressed inner silver lining/aluminium foil of milk cartons, floor tiles (discarded) were in all designs & shapes and the walls were from discarded wooden pallets.If you have the privilege of visiting this Centre, do make it a point to drop by the toilets. The floor tiles and wall tiles were from discarded tiles but the outcome was so unique and creative.There is a cosy space for those who want some quiet time to read or reflect. The cabinets were once thrown away but have been repurposed and placed here with donated books for reading purposes in this little Library.There is a section for the sale of 2nd Hand Items, a section for volunteers to sew items using donated sewing machines & discarded fabrics/materials and an Activities Hall with a stage.Members of Tzu Chi also explained in detail the process in which spoilt electrical and electronic parts/components are separated and segregated as some parts like the motherboard and copper wires fetch higher price when sold separately.At the Plastic section, we were educated on the various grades of plastic which can be recycled. PET plastics and those with the triangle recycling logo are all recyclable. The higher the number printed on the plastic, the lower its recyclability.At the final section, we saw how rainwater was harvested for purposes of watering plants, washing floors and toilets, thus, reducing the use of clean tap water which should be conserved for human consumption.Fun Fact: Guess how old a tree has to be in order to produce a mere 50KG of paper? 20 YEARS!! As such, we must always strive towards our effort to go paperless to assist our fragile nature that is crying out for our protection.Members of Tzu Chi proudly share that, at all their events, regardless of whether to a small group or at big events with thousands of members attending, every Tzu Chi member will bring their own little bag of dining-ware consisting of a food container with cutlery and a drinking cup. Disposable plates, cutlery and cups are not used or served at any of their events. Food will not be served to members who forgot to bring their little bag of dining-ware and this is a policy that they are proud of.Members of our PIHDM should aspire to emulate some of these recycling practices that we have learnt from this eye-opening visit.Moving forward at our Visitation Church, we recommend that different coloured/properly labelled BINS should be placed in our Canteen; which must consist of “BIN for food waste”, “BIN for dirty Plastic cutlery & Food containers”, “BIN for Paper”, “BIN for Plastic Cups & Bottles” and “BIN for Aluminium Cans”. During the early stage of implementation, members of the PIHDM could be stationed (on rotational basis) at every Mass where food is sold/served; to educate and guide our parishioners on the correct usage of these BINS.Amongst the PIHDM members, we could inculcate a Bring-Your-Own (BYO) Dining-Ware Culture at all events organised by PIHDM and Church. Thereafter, to share this practice and instil this culture within the various Ministries in the church before extending this culture to our parishioners.Children make the best teachers – teach them in RE Classes on the necessity to protect Mother Earth NOW. This is in line with our Holy Father Pope Francis’ call for us to embrace “Laudato Si”. Mother Earth is crying out in anguish for our help because of the harm we have caused her over the generations by our irresponsible use and abuse of God’s bountiful creation.Educate our children on the need to recycle and BYO dining-ware. They can then teach their grandparents, parents, siblings and friends to observe this practice/habit.Children too should be encouraged to lend their hands during our Church’s Recycling Event (on 1st Sunday of every month) so that they will learn how to separate & segregate the items and know the value of every discarded item which we call “trash” because 90% of these trash are actually valuable recyclable materials.Ultimately, it only takes a spark, to get the fire going. Let that spark begin with our church community, our young children and most importantly, you. Mother Earth will not be able to take this abuse forever. If we do not start now, then when?

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Photos by Tzu Chi.