It started with grease.
Being an outdoor lover made Wen Shin Chia conscious about the environment where she usually hikes and camps. She realised one day that the site she used to go to was no longer clean and thus she decided to dig deeper by studying environmental science in university.
During one of Wen Shin Chia’s campus project, she found that sure, there are many recycling bins for newspaper and aluminium cans. Yet, there isn’t much proper recycling bin for cooking oil waste.
Fact is, if not recycled properly, discarded used cooking oil (usually dumped in waterways) could end up clogging drains which is the root cause of flash floods, river pollution (the main source of water for Malaysians) and endangerment of marine life. There are 230 million litres of oil being dumped into the waterways every year in Malaysia alone.
Knowing that she wants to pursue something related to the environment, the Universiti Putra Malaysia graduate decided to turn the project into a real business: Green Yards.
Green Yards is an impact river enterprise aiming to reduce water pollution by providing a platform for the community to recycle their used cooking oil properly. Green Yards transforms used cooking oil into eco-friendly soaps and candles.
The company collects used oil from restaurants and households. For households, they set up a collection point. For every 5kg of oil, Green Yards will give a free soap bar in return. This way, Wen Shin Chia hopes could increase participation in the community.
Her enterprise has now got worldwide recognition. She was selected to receive the 2018 Queen’s Young Leaders award after competing with thousands of applicants across the Commonwealth. The award is aimed for youth who did breakthrough movements or programs in order to find solutions to global issues such as climate change, food scarcity, gender-based violence, mental health and access to education.
Chia also made it to the 2019 Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia list for the Social Entrepreneur category. She’s one of the 11 Malaysians to make it to the list.
But hey, she’s just getting started.
The fearless youth is ready to challenge herself into the next adventure and seize amazing opportunities ahead.