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Elderly cardboard collectors concerned as cardboard selling price drops to a mere 4 cents per kg

A senior citizen earns only S$900 if he works 30 days in a month, collecting 300 kilograms of cardboard each day. If he manages to collect 400 kilograms of cardboard each day, he would earn S$1,200 each month

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The selling price of used cardboard has dropped to a mere four cents per kilogram, according to non-profit community organisation, Happy People Helping People (HPHP).

HPHP is dedicated to helping the elderly who are unable to find proper jobs to make ends meet. Providing the elderly with basic necessities like daily meals, money to pay their bills and monthly outings, HPHP also spreads awareness to the elderly poor – many of whom work as cardboard or used can collectors to survive.

Last Sunday, HPHP revealed that the “price of the cardboard boxes has dropped to just four cents per kg”. Sharing a photo of a trio of elderly cardboard collectors in Ang Mo Kio comparing their meager collections with concern, HPHP also shared a picture of a receipt that shows one of the cardboard collectors was paid 25 cents for collecting seven kgs of cardboard:

HOW MUCH DO THEY EARN TODAY?The cardboard collectors in Ang Mo Kio are comparing how much they receive for their boxes…

Posted by Happy People Helping People Community on Saturday, 2 November 2019

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Earlier this year, the plight of an elderly Singaporean, who manages to earn just S$30 after toiling hard to collect 300 kilograms of cardboard over the course of an entire day, trended on social media.

The man’s story was shared online by Facebook user Kilmar Wong who visited the senior citizen and found that he is the only one working in his family since his wife suffers from rheumatism and is resting at home.

The senior citizen is only able to collect 300-400 kilograms of cardboard despite working the entire day. Three hundred kilograms of cardboard is valued at S$30, according to Mr Wong. This means that the senior citizen can earn only S$900 if he works 30 days in a month, collecting 300 kilograms of cardboard each day. If he manages to collect 400 kilograms of cardboard each day, he may earn S$1,200 each month.

The operating costs of collecting cardboard to sell is, however, quite high.

Mr Wong revealed that the senior citizen rents a van to transport the cardboard he collects. The van, which can carry a full load of about 300-400 kilograms, costs S$1,500 each month to rent. Besides rental, the senior also has to pay for carpark, ERP and petrol costs.

Noticing that his earnings from collecting the cardboard does not even fully cover the rental cost of the van, Mr Wong asked the senior citizen how he covers the cost of the van. The senior citizen said that he is “doing other delivery odd jobs to make up for the balance.”

The senior citizen lamented that the price offered by those who buy cardboard has plunged significantly in the last two decades. Mr Wong said that the elderly cardboard collector told him that the prices for cardboard has fallen from 0.22 cents per kilogram in 1999 to 0.08 cents per kilogram in 2019.

Asking the waste paper companies and vehicle rental companies to help such “true blue local Singaporeans,” Mr Wong appealed:

“A true blue local Singaporean couple work hand in hand just to make an income of less than 2k after all the hard work…To the rental companies, please try to help them to at least lower down the rental cost.

“To the waste paper recycling companies who are doing exports, is it possible to increase your buying price from $0.08cts to $0.13cts per kilo? At least they can make extra $270?”

Elderly Singaporean works an entire day to collect 300kgs of cardboard, only to earn $30

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