Around 100 million people in Indonesia alone still have no access to basic waste services. It’s an almost impossibly expensive task to reach these people with the centralised waste systems that we have in the developed world today. This is said to be the largest contributor to plastic in the ocean. On average, about 1.2 million tons of plastic leak into the oceans from Indonesia due to the lack of waste services. This is why we’ve created a system that turns waste into currency in the places that need it the most. We call them WasteBanks. They’re like co-op stores that buy waste give it a second life.
How does it work?
A network of waste banks or plastic waste collection huts are strategically placed in villages and cities across West Sumatra, including the Mentawais. Locals collect plastic from home or nature and bring it to the waste bank. We purchase the ocean-bound plastic and reintroduce it into the economy.
Based on our engagement with big ethical adventure retail brands, we understand the type and quality of plastic they would require to use in their supply chain, and most importantly at what cost.
Step 1: Preparing the facility
The first step is to build the collection facility. We have designed the facilities to be modular, meaning it can be adapted to suit different needs. The modules include collection, preparation, recycling, showroom.
Creating a modular system helps the to stage the development according to available capital investment and level of confidence. For example, if minimal investment is available, the facility can start with the Collection and Preparation.
Step 2: Installing machinery
The next stage is installing the machines to increase the value of the recovered plastic waste. Waste generation tends to vary from community to community, some generate larger amounts than others.
Recycling machinery includes:
Step 3: Train the staff
Staff members are trained through a series of workshops. Each covers a different topic including recycling machine operations, business administration, material science (basic), business development, customer service and community activation.
Step 4: Education
Step 4 includes educating the community on what type of plastic waste the bank is buying and how much revenue can their earn if they bring recyclables either collected from home or littered in the environment to the bank.
Step 5. Buying the plastic
Plastic collected is separated and compacted at the waste bank. Then at the recycling facility in Jakarta its washed, shredded and pelletised.
PET, PP and HDPE plastics are purchased from locals and pelletised.
Other types of low quality plastic waste are transported to the local sanitary landfills in Padang, Aie Dingin.