“The first inklings of being in the waste management industry came when I was the general manager of a hotel in Thailand a few years back. At the time, I noticed that the hotel was pumping thousands of Ringgit each month to de-sludge its systems, which was a substantial amount of money, so I began researching alternative methods to manage the waste. After a few rounds of trial and error with my team, we finally discovered an organic and environment friendly technology that was new to the business and, in due time, realised that we didn’t have to manually de-sludge the systems anymore, saving us time and manpower. It was in that moment that it dawned upon me that something bigger could come out of this.
Together with my brother John-Ian, we set up Microbs™, a waste management solution company that provides environment-friendly technology in treating industrial waste. Microbs™ uses bacteria and enzymes to break down organic waste naturally at accelerated speeds. The technology uses products that are 100 per cent organic, natural and biodegradable.
However, there were definitely challenges in getting the company off the ground. Other than my involvement with managing waste in the hotel, we had no experience in the waste management industry. Nonetheless, we dove in headfirst and learned as much as we could on the technology and market, raised capital on our own, and purchased the distribution rights of the technology. There’s also an obstacle to generating demand as most of the industrial waste producers in Malaysia still manually de-sludge the drainages or use chemical products that are harmful to the environment. Most companies are slow to change, but with the increasing presence of Generations X and Y individuals in decision-making roles, I definitely see businesses embracing new environmental-friendly solutions.
Having been through those challenging days also made me understand that I can survive with the bare minimum and that there is nothing to lose even if I fail in trying new ideas. The worse thing that could happen is going back to the basics.
This year, Microbs™ is focusing on creating a platform with our partners to minimise food waste by creating a sustainable ecosystem to manage it. For example, our clients are producing hundreds of kilograms of food waste each day that usually end up in landfills. To minimise this, we are selling them composting machines that breaks down the food waste into fertilisers on site, which we then distribute to farms to use on crops. Once the crops are ready for harvest, the produce is then sold back to the clients at a cheaper price. Not only is this cycle kind to the environment, it’s incredibly efficient as well.
After all that hard work, I’m thankful to see our business expanding steadily across shopping malls, restaurants, hotels and factories in Malaysia and Singapore. Microbs™ will be around for a long time as the need for better waste management is already here and the demand keeps growing day by day. This business has immense potential and we seek to be the leading waste management company in Malaysia that helps create and establish proper standards of cleanliness and maintenance for establishments to follow.”
ART DIRECTION PENNY CHEW
PHOTOGRAPHY LAW SOO PHYE
VENUE RUYI & LYN RESTAURANT & 8 CONLAY SALES GALLERY
This article first appeared in the June 2017 issue of The Peak Malaysia.