Keep Reading

Where to Recycle & Be Rewarded in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah?

Undoubtedly, zero-waste awareness through recycling efforts is relatively low among Malaysians. Relatively new, even. Especially in suburban or rural areas.

In Kota Kinabalu, supermarkets and grocery stores generously offer plastic bags freely, unlike in urban cities like KL where paper bags are charged at most places.

It’s really good to see certain brands are encouraging Malaysians to recycle by rewarding their efforts. This initiative motivates the community to move towards a sustainable living. Unfortunately, there are not many avenues to trade trash for cash in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Not only that, there are not many recycling hubs that are easily accessible to the community in KK.

However, after spending hours of research, I did manage to find out where you can recycle your old items or wastes in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, in exchange for freebies!

1. L'Occitane en Provence BIG LITTLE THINGS

L'Occitane’s recycling programme, Big Little Things is a collaboration with local waste separation & recycle provider, i-CYCLE Malaysia.

What Can You Recycle?

You can now recycle your beauty empties at selected L'Occitane stores. They accept beauty, haircare, and skincare packaging in full size of any brands.

You may check the full list of empties acceptable by L'Occitane here.

How Will you Be Rewarded?

Just bring your clean & dried, full-size empties from L’OCCITANE or any beauty brands to be recycled. You’ll receive 1 stamp for every full-sized empty on the digital stamp card & get rewarded with complimentary gifts!

The beauty associate will examine each product packaging and determine its eligibility for recycling.

If you have travel-size empties, you may turn it over for recycling but it will not be eligible for the rewards.

List of rewards you can redeem when you recycle your empties.

In Kota Kinabalu, L'Occitane Suria Sabah is the only participating outlet. You may further clarify with L'Occitane from time to time via their social media for the latest updates. Don’t worry, they are very responsive on social media and efficient in handling my enquiries!

I didn’t realise my beauty routine produces so many plastic wastes until I started collecting and them for recycling. I could not imagine the number of empties I have thrown over the years which could have been recycled. Well, it’s still not too late to start!

Redeemed my recycling rewards!

Big Little Things is an ongoing initiative that runs throughout the year. You may find out more on their website.


Kiehl’s recycling programme encourages customers to return full-size empty packaging of Kiehl’s products in exchange of complimentary gifts.

What Can You Recycle?

Full-size empties (Kiehl’s brand only). And of course, clean your bottles, as a courtesy before submitting for recycling.

My empties tell me I’m a loyal consumer of Kiehl’s!

How Will You Be Rewarded?

You’ll get 1 stamp of every empty bottle and every 4th, 8th, and 12th stamp will allow you to redeem a reward, usually a travel-sized Kiehl’s product.

List of rewards!

You may read more of Kiehl’s Recycle & Be Rewarded Programme here


H&M’s Garment Collection Programme is a global green initiative moving towards a future of sustainable fashion. As a fast fashion brand, it’s good to see their efforts in working towards sustainability through textile recycling and repurposing.

What Can You Recycle?

H&M accepts all textiles of any brand and any condition, including socks, old sheets, and worn out T-shirts.

After Marie Kondo-ing your closet, you may drop off your bag of unwanted clothing that doesn’t spark joy in the recycling box at H&M outlet in Imago KK. These textiles will get a new life and purpose. It is advisable to pack your old clothing in a medium sized shopping bags prior sending them off for donation.

How Will You Be Rewarded?

H&M offers a 15% discount voucher for every bag of unwanted clothing donated. Each person is allowed to receive a maximum of 2 vouchers in one day. So, get your friends and family to start decluttering and bring in more old clothing to donate!

For more info, you may slide into H&M’s DM or FB messenger!


As mentioned before, it was no easy quest to look for accessible recycling centres in Kota Kinabalu. Many recycling centres within the community are managed on a smaller scale with little to no publicity and without any social media presence. Most of their operations are closed or inactive ever since the pandemic hit.

The search for e-waste recycling hub or a place for proper e-waste disposal in Sabah is a challenging one, let alone, selling them for cash. Recycling as well as proper disposal of e-waste or known as electronic waste is important because they contain toxic substances and heavy metals that could be released into the soil and waterways of the landfills. Hence, e-wastes should not be disposed as regular trash and should never make its way to the landfill.

Initally, I stumbled upon Senheng’s E-Waste Program on their website. However, after numerous attempts to get in touch with their staffs, it is revealed that this program is not applicable to Sabah (or East Malaysia, for that matter).

Senheng's E-waste Recycling Program is Not applicable in Sabah

To continue my quest, I visited Department of Environment’s website . Under their Household E-Waste subdivision, there is a list of collection points according to state. To my disappointment, no collection points were listed in East Malaysia.

No collection points for e-waste were listed in East Malaysia :(

Finally, I found ERTH- Electronic Recycling Through Heroes, or simply pronounced as Earth, a start-up based in Cyberjaya that pays you to recycle your electronic waste!

What Can You Recycle?

ERTH accepts a variety of old, non-functioning electronics ranging from smaller devices such as smartphones, tablets to big 50-inch flatscreen TV!

Good news is, they also accept functioning electronics! In fact, you may reap more rewards from your obsolete devices.

ERTH does not have a collection point in Sabah, or in the East Malaysia. However, you may send your old devices via courier. The delivery fees can be negotiable with ERTH; their staffs are super helpful and responsive.

How Will You Be Rewarded?

There are basically two categories for their cash incentives which are working and non-working electronics. Non- working electronics will be collected and recycled as e-waste, while functioning devices may have the potential for refurbishment. As for functioning old electronics, you may need to send a video proof of the device condition or be tested by their staffs.

You may visit their website and social media pages for more information!


This Kota Kinabalu City Hall (DBKK)’s pilot project was recently launched early this year is not just like any recycling centre. It also provides repair services for your electronic devices and shoes for free! I am truly impressed with the state’s initiative in creating waste reduction awareness, besides providing employment opportunities for handyman.

Pusat Lestari KK accepts all recyclable items such as clothing, plastics, aluminums, and papers in exchange for cash! They accept donations of old, unused items such as electrical appliances, clothing, and books, and then, to be donated to those who are in need. As for e-wastes, they’ll accept it as donation on behalf of their e-waste collector without monetary rewards given.

They are opened everyday from 8am-5pm at the Dewan Masyarakat KK. Be sure to check them out!

6. Other brands that I have not partake in their recycling program- The Body Shop, Innisfree, Origins, M.A.C. Cosmetics

There are also other several brands hosting their own recycling campaign which I personally have not experience. Let me know in the comment section if you have participated in any of these!

The Body Shop- this vegan and cruelty-free brand offers RM1 discount from your next purchase on the same day you bring back The Body Shop’s empty bottles/containers. Each empty bottle/container is entitled RM1 discount. This Bring Back Our Bottles Campaign are only available in stores in West Malaysia (excluding Johor Premium Outlet) & Sabah! More info here.

Origins- This all-time favourite skincare brand is giving you a chance to redeem a 3-pc trial kit of skin and/or body care when you recycle 5 used, full-size ORIGINS containers at any one time. I could not find much info about their recycling program on their website, but there’s a Facebook thread that verifies their campaign is still ongoing. You may find it here .

M.A.C. Cosmetics- M.A.C.’s Back to M.A.C. Programme encourages you to bring 6 M·A·C primary packaging containers to a M·A·C counter and you will receive a free M·A·C Lipstick of your choice. More info here .

Innisfree- Innisfree has an Empty Bottle Recycling Campaign that offers you 100 membership points (equivalent to RM2 rebate upon redemption) when you returned 1 empty Innisfree bottle. More info here.

Alright, I guess that’s all from me! I actually found a few places that accepts donation of old items such as clothing but they are either unreachable or too far from my area. If you guys have any ideas or info regarding the recycling centres who are actively operating in Kota Kinabalu, kindly drop a comment below!

Till next post,

Disclaimer: The above suggestions are based entirely on the writer's personal experience. The writer's views or information does not represent the aforementioned organisation. In other words, kindly double check the info with the correct sources before deciding on sending your items for recycling!


Send me a hello :)

Form for the Contact Page