Muhammad Syazani (YES 2011-2012) is part of a social enterprise called KITARAN and Budaya Beat sat down with him recently to find out more about the cause.
What is KITARAN?
KITARAN is a social enterprise that focuses on fighting climate change in Malaysia by advocating for responsible waste disposal. This includes 3 components: Educate, Recycle and Repurpose.
- Educate – Changing people’s perception of discarded items
- Recycle – Pursuit of a more circular economy that fosters a more responsible and caring society
- Repurpose – Increasing the lifespan of a product and adding value to “junk”
In KITARAN, what we do is not something new or revolutionary, however, our aim is to prove that being more conscious about our environment is not something that is unattainable to the general public. Our goal is to show that small and continuous efforts by individuals and small businesses can have an impact on how the public can view waste and how it can actually generate another subset of economic value. We hope that this effort would not only generate awareness but also the realization that being eco-conscious is practical and achievable.
What is your role in KITARAN?
As we are still new and still in our infant stages, there are no set roles for any of us (only 3 of us at the moment). However, because of my educational background and my experience in my “day” job, I have been contributing with the financial planning side and also putting efforts into outreach and collaboration.
How did being a participant of the YES program inspire you to join KITARAN?
The YES experience helped me build my confidence in reaching out to people, both local and international. Being born and raised in Malaysia, in a typical Malay family, I was reserved when talking to non-Malaysians whose native language is English. The opportunity to be plucked out of the country and put into a small town in rural Minnesota really helped to build the confidence I needed to adapt to my new environment and encouraged self-belief in my own capability to communicate my ideas and thoughts.
However, the bigger impact for me is the network of alumni that I got to know. The exposure to the many high-achieving individuals that are part of the program made me understand more about my surroundings and I believe this is the competitive edge that I benefitted from the program.
I was inspired by a few of my closest friends, all alumni too, who were brave enough to step outside their comfort zones and create impact in their own way.
The exposure to these inspiring individuals by being an alumnus is a privilege in itself, and that encouraged me to adopt whatever I’ve learned into my own life, like joining KITARAN. Besides that, the spirit of collaboration really helped me move away from the “us versus them” mentality. This is what I believe KITARAN strives to be and to work with as many people as possible for preservation of the environment.
Can you share the impact of the KITARAN initiative to its stakeholders?
At the moment, we are in the process of acquiring a machine that would enable us to create new products from discarded plastic waste. We are adopting the “Precious Plastic” approach and working closely with the Sea Monkey Project to acquire this machine. The model is essentially shredding discarded plastic waste and transforming it into household items. At the moment, we are planning to build flower pots and, moving forward, we plan to expand our product line.
In terms of impact, we have collected more than 20 kilograms of plastic waste from our own communities, individual households, and small businesses. The number might not be huge, but again, small and continuous effort is the name of the game, and it also means that 20 kilograms of plastic are out of our oceans and rivers.
Again, we are only in our infant stages, so if you have any tips or advice, please reach out to us! We are aiming to reach out to the general public on collecting more plastic waste and how to dispose of it in a more conscious way. Do reach out to us and we would be thrilled to get to know how you can contribute not only to us but also to the environment.
Note: If you are interested to know more about KITARAN, hop onto their socials (@kitaranmy) on Instagram and Facebook.