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This 94-Year-Old Glass Recycling Business Is The Last Of Its Kind In Penang

Most of us Penangites will probably know that there are a lot of vanishing trades here in Penang. Well, there is one more old business that is a dying trade at Lebuh Victoria. Read on for more information about the last glass recycler on this island.

Let’s Not Forget About The Vanishing Trades Of Penang

Photo credit: The Star (Website)

It’s important for us especially Penangites to be educated about the vanishing trades that plays a huge part in history of this island. It is almost impossible to revive these trade when the older generations are no longer around but the least we could do is to learn about it. Without these trades, Penang won’t be as culturally diverse and unique as an island.

K. Paramasiwam who is 66 years old is currently running the last glass recycling business in Penang. Moreover, his business has been around since 1926 and was passed down by his relatives who are from India.

Paramasiwam’s business started by recycling gunny sacks followed by recycling large plastic bags to transport rice and sugar. However, ever since the demand for those decreased, Paramasiwam’s business has switched to recycling glass bottle. Besides that, he mentions that there were five shops in Penang that does glass recycling but those shops closed down in the 1990s.

The Process Of Recycling And Reusing These Glass Bottles

Photo for illustration purposes only

According to K. Paramasiwam, most people have the mentality that glass does not worth much which then leads to the limited amount of supply to make these glass items worthwhile. With the limited supply, Paramasiwam will then get more bottles from Thailand as well. He will pay an average of 5 sen to 15 sen for each bottle which will then be send of to be clean. Besides that, the cleaning process is expensive and will cost more than the price of a bottle. Moreover, these bottles are use to pack goods such as honey and Paramasiwam will also send some bottles back to the original manufacturer while the others will be sold to other businesses.

Just like every other businesses, K. Paramasiwam’s business has been greatly affected by this outbreak. According to his estimation, his business has declined by 70% to 80% since the outbreak. He is also running the business on his own as he is unable to hire any workers to help him out. With the virus outbreak, there is a disruption to all transportation which means that Paramasiwam is not able to get bottle from Thailand. However, he is remaining positive that his business is able to recover. Challenging times like these are definitely reminding us to continue to support small and local businesses such as K. Paramasiwam’s glass recycling business.

Do you or anyone that you know of has glass bottles lying around in their house? Tag them in the comment section below to share this news.

Read also This 75-Year-Old Woodcarver In Penang Is Still Carving Various Iconic Things

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One Comment

  1. When I visited the new waste processing plant in Batu Maung with a group, the speaker told us they don’t know what to do with glass bottles.

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