Malaysian cardboard prices through the roof

Lorry drivers collecting recyclable items have been spotted jostling for these boxes in housing and commercial areas.


June 20, 2022

PETALING JAYA – Cardboard boxes are now very much in demand, pushing its price up to an all-time high of 70sen a kilo.

Lorry drivers collecting recyclable items are jostling for these boxes in housing and commercial areas.

Some were even willing to pay workers up to RM100 to “reserve” cardboard boxes for them.

A pharmacy assistant at Bandar Mahkota Cheras, Kuala Lumpur, said he was offered a RM100 incentive if he provided the lorry driver with his supply of boxes.

The lorry driver said he would pick up the boxes at 7pm daily, but the juicy offer was declined by the assistant.

Checks by The Star at shoplots in a residential area in Hulu Kelang, Kuala Lumpur, revealed that people were racing to get their hands on the free cardboard boxes there.

One pharmacist said all unused boxes that were put in front of their premises were snapped up by the end of the day.

“We have two local ‘customers’ who pick up the boxes everyday and there are also people who come randomly to collect and resell them,” she said.

Precious cargo: Lorry drivers have been jostling for cardboard boxes in housing areas due to the price increase. — ART CHEN/The Star

Another store assistant said their cardboard boxes were mostly reserved by a company for business purposes while others were either recycled or given away.

A beauty chain store set aside all of its boxes to barber K. Murugasan daily for the past few years for him to resell.

Murugasan said he could make up to RM600 a month from recycling the cardboard boxes.

“I collect all the boxes available around this area.

“Sometimes I go around to the convenience store or even the car spare parts shop which also keeps big card boxes for me.

“I also collect other recyclable items such as plastic bottles,” said the 56-year-old

Murugasan said he would call the lorry drivers who collected recyclable items every two weeks for 60sen per kg and could get RM200 to RM300 at a time.

Some recycling centres said they had been receiving more cardboard boxes especially after the movement control order.

In 2019, the price for recyclable cardboard boxes was only around 20sen per kg.

An operator of the Xiang Heng Recycle Centre in Kuala Lumpur, said the centre received about 200kg to 300kg of cardboard boxes from lorries and 10kg to 20kg from other people daily.

The operator, who wanted to be known as Alai, said he charged about 40sen to 50sen per kg for the cardboard boxes.

“My customers are people who make it a habit to recycle and those who sometimes recycle. It is a mixture of both,” he said.

Norzilawati Yacob, a recycling centre operator in SS17 Subang Jaya, said she received more cardboard boxes and this could mainly be attributed to an increase in online shopping.

“As more people shop online and get a lot of boxes everyday, they send the boxes to be recycled,” she said, adding that she would buy boxes for 70sen per kg.

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