KOTA KINABALU, 29 November 2022 – Staying true to its Purpose of Brewing for a Better Today and Tomorrow, Carlsberg Malaysia collaborated with Ripple (Sabah Recycling Association) to pilot-test a three-year glass bottle recycling and community empowerment programme named CarlsBot. Committing towards its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda, the brewer has co-created a glass bottle ecosystem with Ripple to recycle its non-returnable glass bottles in Kota Kinabalu by empowering local communities to tackle waste and generate income from them.
Glass is one of the most difficult waste items to dispose of in Sabah. Unlike plastic and organic waste, there has not been much effort to find ways to turn glass into products that could generate income. As Sabahans recover from the socio-economic effects of the pandemic, Carlsberg Malaysia stepped up its investment on ESG, in addition to sales and marketing in Sabah, to make a difference to the lives and livelihoods of the local communities. The CarlsBot programme will address the mounting issue of disposal, collection and recycling of glass bottles in Kota Kinabalu through the three-year programme, which will take place from end 2022 to 2025.
The programme’s namesake takes cue from its famous flagship brand ‘Carlsberg’ – “Carls” while “Bot” refers to a “ro-bot” or machine that can crush glass “bot-tle”, hence the name “CarlsBot”. The CarlsBot machine can crush approximately 600kg of glass bottles in an hour, which is equivalent to 2,352 pints of Carlsberg glass bottles.
For year one, three CarlsBot machines will be made available in Kota Kinabalu at the Tanjung Aru Marine Ecosystem Center (TAME) and two community centres in Luyang and Kingfisher. These made-in-Sabah CarlsBot machines can generate income for Sabahans whilst reducing glass waste in the beautiful Land Below the Wind. The CarlsBot machine, brainchild of a native Sabahan inventor, Adrian Lasimbang of TONIBUNG (Friends of Village Development), was inspired by other glass bottles crushers in the market which he then improvised to provide a solution to the overflow of unrecycled glass bottles that end up in landfills.
With the crushed glass produced by CarlsBot in the forms of cullet, coarse sand and fine sand, Ripple provides the recycled materials to local communities and trains them with entrepreneurial, innovation, marketing and sales skills to repurpose the glass bottle waste into materials which can be used in various beneficial ways, for example to pave roads or be upcycled into handicrafts, furniture and even big ideas like 3D printed housing and Kota Kinabalu shoreline sand retention, while also generating additional income for local entrepreneurs and preserving the nature.
Tressie Yap, Chairperson of Ripple said at the launch of Project CarlsBot, “Because we believe very much that small actions lead to big changes, we are very proud and excited to collaborate with a reputable brewer like Carlsberg Malaysia who will provide us with the funding to operate, manage and monitor the CarlsBot programme, a three-year glass bottle ecosystem to effect changes with our network of NGOs and social enterprises including TAME, TONIBUNG, Siung Films, Upcycled Shack, Moyog Innovation House, PACOS Trust and One Ocean Empire on a local grassroots level that will consequently have much larger impacts on the lives of the communities in Kota Kinabalu and the environment of Sabah.”
Managing Director of Carlsberg Malaysia, Stefano Clini expressed gratitude for dedication and partnership with like-minded NGOs to handle the B2C glass bottle collection: “We are hopeful that with the support of Ripple, together with our distributors Kwong Hin (HK) Sdn. Bhd. and Bondestiny Sdn. Bhd. to handle the B2B glass bottle collection, Project CarlsBot will start on a strong footing to deliver a complete ecosystem. Upon the completion of this pilot programme, we hope that it will be in a solid position to deliver positive impact to the ecology and economy of the communities in Kota Kinabalu and other parts of the Borneo. Our target is to collect at least 30% of our products’ glass bottles in Kota Kinabalu.”
“Despite the investment, partnership and commitment by all parties, it is no easy feat to drive mindset and behaviour change around glass bottle waste. We invite all of you, who are passionate about the People, Planet and Prosperity of Sabah to pledge support for CarlsBot that is made by a Sabahan, for Sabahans in Sabah. You can bring any bottles, not just Carlsberg bottles, to TAME as well as to Luyang and Kingfisher Community Halls and make our target of zero glass bottle waste a success by ‘Crushing It One Bottle at a Time’!” he concluded.
Carlsberg Malaysia recently launched its ‘Together towards ZERO and Beyond’ ESG programme which includes a wider array of ESG priorities. It focuses on achieving six ambitions, which are categorised into ZERO Carbon Footprint, ZERO Farming Footprint, ZERO Packaging Waste, ZERO Water Waste, ZERO Irresponsible Drinking and ZERO Accidents Culture. These priorities support the brewer’s transformation towards more sustainable business practices and reaffirm its commitment to the collective action needed on the ESG areas that matter the most towards its purpose of ‘Brewing for a Better Today and Tomorrow’.