Greeneration Indonesia: Dealing with Waste Is Not Wasting Your Time
- Kana Toriumi
- Johanes Kristianto
- Kyohei Nishiyama
Human civilization has progressed greatly during the last few hundred years. We have recently experienced the advancement of almost all aspects in our life, such as science, technology, and economy. However, behind every progress there will always be drawbacks. One of the general problems that humankind is facing is waste or garbage.
With the increasing number of world population, waste emission has also experienced a parallel situation. Naturally this phenomenon is not something to be proud of. Most of the time waste brings problems and disadvantages to the people and the planet. This situation will be worsened if there are no concrete actions and solutions with respect to the waste issues.
In Indonesia itself, as a developing country, waste issues are often neglected and becoming a lesser priority. This is a bit ironic, considering Indonesia is the world’s fourth most populous country which means that a gigantic number of wastes will most likely be produced from that humongous population. Polluted and clogged rivers cause annual floods across the archipelago. Over-capacity landfills that are unpleasant to the eye produce horrible smell and promoting the spread of diseases. Those two are just a few examples of how detrimental waste can affect the people and environment when it goes unchecked.
BBC news reported that Indonesia is the world’s second worst marine polluter after China. Plastic waste accounts for 90% of all global ocean waste. In Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, each day around 6,270 tons of waste is produced, most of them are mixed (74% unseparated, 19% separated). A lot of Jakarta’s waste never makes anywhere near the landfill, instead into the river. This situation is worsened with the lack of awareness and education from the society about proper waste management and disposal. These terrifying facts have urged some concerned individuals to take action and pioneering waste awareness-related movement.
Greeneration Indonesia (GI) was established 2005 in Bandung. Realizing the dire potential environmental damage caused by waste, GI aims to educate and change the mindset of people, especially the younger Indonesian generations. GI has an expression of its own, which is to promote GAGE: “Green Attitude, Green Environment”. Moreover, GI has an ethical vision of 3P: People, Planet, and Profit. Through educating the people we can save the environment and at the same time empowering the society with green-economy activities that is sustainable and still profitable for future growth and prosperity.
Structure-wise, GI consists of 3 entities:
● GI Foundation
● GI Enterprise
GI Foundation acts as a “spirit container” that connects the main values and ideas of Greeneration Indonesia and envelops all other entities as a whole. Utilizing the so-called “REACTS” workflow, GI Foundation starts with research and education (RE) aimed to assess problems in the society and educate people with respect to the problems. Furthermore, to increase awareness in the society, GI Foundation often arrange action and campaign (AC) that involves public participation, such as the Headbagmob movement, held annually since 2008 in several Indonesian big cities.
Back in 2010 GI Foundation also initialized the “Diet Kantong Plastik” (“Plastic Bag Diet”, DKP) movement, a national movement that urges Indonesian people and government to reduce and eventually eradicate the use of plastic bags in the retail sector. After becoming a separate organization of their own in 2013, DKP movement succeeded to petition the government to release a new policy of “pay for plastic bags” in the retail sector. This new government policy is finally undergoing a trial run in the first quarter of 2016. Lastly, GI Foundation have their tools and system (TS) to support their operation as well as to sustain the society by incorporating people to work at sustainable environmental projects.
One of the successful TS approach from GI Foundation is coming from the other entity, GI Enterprise. Its main environmental social business is the Bagoes Bag. Bagoes comes from the Indonesian word “bagus” meaning “good”. It also consists of the English word “bag” and “goes”, which showcases the product as a bag that is easy to carry everywhere. Led by Dicky Ahmad as their managing director, Bagoes Bag proudly proclaims itself as the first reusable compact (shopping) bag in Indonesia. According to Dicky, Bagoes Bag does not consider itself as a social enterprise, instead a sustainable organization. Since its establishment in 2008, Bagoes Bag has gradually increased its number of workers. Currently around 40 weavers are working under Bagoes Bag home industry network. This surely goes in parallel with one of the GI Foundation’s DNA, which is to empower and incorporate society in sustainable economic activity.
During 2011-2012, Bagoes Bag collaborated with certain convenience store chain to provide plastic bag alternatives. The public reception was quite encouraging, although dominated by female customers. Throughout the following years, Bagoes Bag continues to increase its sales through digital marketing and online sales. Clients varies from retail (B2C) and wholesale (B2B). Recent government policy of “pay for plastic bags” turns out to be a positive stimulus for the product, as it has experienced significant increase in the amount of sales in the B2C area, although the B2B sector still becomes the main contributor to Bagoes Bag sales number. Despite its promising national success, Bagoes Bag still needs to face the challenge of international expansion. The complexity and expensive nature of international shipping still become their main hindrance to that goal. Nevertheless, as one of the “eco bag” pioneers, Dicky Ahmad and the people working in Bagoes Bag have quite successfully initiated a fresh hope to a dream of plastic-free Indonesia.
Waste4Change (W4C) is the third entity in Greeneration Indonesia. 50% owned by Bagoes Bag and also cooperating with EcoBali, W4C is perhaps the most important entity in GI dealing directly with physical waste. W4C is pursuing a goal to make zero-waste Indonesia a reality. Based in Bekasi, W4C provides four main expertise: consult, campaign, collect, and create. The four main expertise are categorized further into two main services: strategic and operational. W4C strategic services consist of consult and campaign:
Consult: W4C supports diverse industries and companies in waste management training and consultation. W4C provides whole waste management solution or tailor-made packages as per requested by clients. It also provides feasibility study for office buildings and schools with relation to waste emission. Passive marketing such as networking from social events are used to promote W4C’s waste management services to future clients. Eventually the society will benefit from the waste management program, by experiencing an increase in sanitation levels and decrease in operational cost to deal with waste, such as the steep transportation cost to bring the waste into a landfill.
Campaign: W4C understands that waste-related awareness should be fostered from a really young age. That is why W4C has its own educational animation program aimed for elementary school children called “Petualangan Banyu” (Banyu’s Adventures). After watching the program, children are subject to discuss and review the episode in an interactive way. This program surely brings hope for change of behavior or habit in society through children since early age, so that eventually they will grow up as environmentally-concerned individuals. For the general public, W4C also held educational events and attend workshops at major public events, such as Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW).
The biggest business of W4C however is their operational services. W4C collects neighborhood, office, and industrial waste under three main categories: inorganic, organic, and others (paper-glass-metal). Daily workers collect waste to the depot, to be further separated in W4C’s separation facility (“Rumah Pemulihan Materi”, RPM). Inorganic matters such as plastic bottles will be processed through the cutting machine to produce small plastic shards. On the other hand, organic waste will go through the process of composting to produce organic fertilizers. Most of the products are being sold to second-degree collectors or industries that need them as raw materials.
Slow waste separation pace, few numbers of workers, and limited processing capacity still currently become a challenge for W4C. It is one of W4C’s future plans to increase the plant size, workers, and production speed. Therefore, W4C is always open for willing investors who are interested in sustainable environmental enterprise.
W4C has also another subsidiary in the agriculture sector, called Farm4Life (F4L). It is aimed for future integration with other GI entities to form a self-sustaining closed loop environment. However, in the Bekasi plant, F4L is facing a quite challenging situation with respect to the soil condition. The Bekasi plant was designated initially as a residential cum industrial area, which means the soil was constructed from “cut and fill” process. The outcome is acidic and non-porous soil which is really unsuitable for growing crops and other plants. Therefore they use the organic fertilizer from W4C’s composting facility to rejuvenate the soil to a suitable condition allowing F4L to grow valuable crops and plants. So far it has shown decent results as the farm has started to produce regular harvest, two times in a week for various types of crops (around 30 types).
In conclusion, Indonesia will still face a challenging future with respect to its waste emission. There are numerous issues that need to be cared for, particularly regarding education and government policy about waste management system. This however, should not discourage us as Indonesians. In the recent years, we can notice growing interests for eco-related organizations and social entrepreneurs that really care for the environment with their programs. These unique and dedicated individuals or groups can together form a bigger circle of influence that eventually will promote a better awareness and education to the society, mainly the younger generation. Moreover, we should always be open to new ideas from other communities. Cooperation and brainstorming session with other countries should always become an option for future development of waste management.
- Greeneration Foundation
ドキュメンタリー/Documentary "Greeneration Indonesia" 1