One man’s trash can end up being his gold too.
HelloGold is launching 500 vending machines across Malaysia that convert plastic bottles and aluminium cans to investment-grade gold.
The Southeast Asian fintech company has teamed up with Malaysia’s reverse-vending machine (RVM) company KLEAN to bring about a recycling scheme that offers Malaysians 0.00059 grams of gold for each recycled plastic bottle or aluminum can.
After registering for an account on the HelloGold app, users can bring their plastic bottles and aluminium cans to any KLEAN RVM.
After depositing the recyclables, they can then convert KLEAN e-credits into gold through an integration between the KLEAN digital wallet and the HelloGold mobile app.
The e-credits can also be exchanged for airtime, smart card credit, and food vouchers, according to KLEAN’s website, which could attract those who are not interested in investing.
Users can also register for an account at any of the 40 machines that will be available across Klang Valley in July, and 500 machines across Malaysia at key locations before the end of the year.
The Edge Markets reports that Malaysians tend to hold about 44% cash in the local currency — the third highest allocation in Asia after Indonesia and Japan. This might hinder them from reaching their financial goals, due to increasing costs and fluctuating currencies.
“Our latest partnership with KLEAN reflects our shared values in using innovative technology to enable financial inclusion and wealth creation for the man on the street,” Mr Robin Lee, CEO and Co-founder of HelloGold said.
Another thing they are addressing is the increasing plastic waste, which has become an urgent environmental issue, especially across Asia.
According to Reuters, imports of plastic rates have been increasing sharply, while only 14% of plastic is collected for recycling globally, resulting in an estimated loss of $80 billion to $120 billion per year.
Malaysia’s plastic imports jumped from 288,000 tonnes in 2016 to 450,000 tonnes in 2017, and it is one of the top 10 countries most responsible for plastic waste entering the ocean. Six countries on that list are in Asia, including China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand.
“Through this partnership, we aim to encourage greater recycling by showing Malaysians the potential wealth and money that lies around our communities, in our landfills and floats in our oceans,” said CEO of KLEAN Mr Nick Boden.
He adds that the project might expand to other countries such as Singapore and South Africa.
The vending machines collect aluminum cans and plastic bottles, sort and crush them on site, while registering users and rewarding them with virtual points.
Collected cans are then smelted back into aluminum, and collected plastic bottled are recycled into PET pellets.