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Putting Waste to Productive Use in
Indonesia

Overview

Most communities in Indonesia have no access to formal waste management leading to wide spread dumping and burning of waste.

Our vision is to enable thousands of community-owned, sustainable waste collection and recycling programs across Indonesia bringing effective and affordable waste management to millions. We started with a successful pilot in Sanur Kauh, Bali of our Rethinking Recycling initiative, which transforms waste management systems of whole cohorts of villages at once. In addition, we are working with corporate players on the demand side to create traceability and transparency, improve logistics, and build local markets to reliably absorb the supply of recycled materials on an ongoing basis at a fair price. In the coming years, we plan to scale our solutions across Indonesia and to other countries in Asia.

Rethinking Recycling - Bali

Initiatives

The Challenge

In Indonesia, there are nearly a thousand facilities, known as TPS3Rs, meant to provide waste collection service, sort dry recyclables for sale, and process organic waste into compost. Many of these facilities lie idle, leaving communities to burn or dump mixed waste in unmanaged landfills, with disastrous consequences for the environment and public health. This situation is common across Southeast Asia, which has drawn attention for the severity of its waste crisis—ocean plastic leakage in particular. But such idle sites also present tremendous opportunity: infrastructure that can be rapidly transformed into a productive recycling ecosystem.

Proof-of-Concept: Desa Kedas (Clean Village)

In 2019 we launched our first pilot in Indonesia, in an urban village called Sanur Kauh in Bali’s capital city Denpasar, working with the local community to transform their TPS3R. The residents chose the name Desa Kedas for this effort, which is Balinese for “Clean Village.”

Together we supported households in building new recycling behaviours, optimized collection and sorting operations, integrated independent local waste collectors, and upskilled workers and community members. 

 

In less than four months, Sanur Kauh’s TPS3R went from losing money to being profitable and financially self-sustaining. At the same time, we transformed recycling and composting productivity, doubled workers’ wages, and provided them access to critical social programs such as health care.

Today, Desa Sanur Kauh serves as a demonstration and learning site for the Rethinking Recycling Academy, ​​an initiative designed to catalyze the transformation of waste management systems in multiple communities at once. The Sanur Kauh TPS3R has been celebrated by Indonesian ministries and heralded as the gold standard for community-driven waste management.

Scale-up Initiative: Rethinking Recycling Academy

The Rethinking Recycling Academy is an innovative hybrid initiative of digitally-delivered capability building, on-the-ground implementation support, and access to up-front capital. This approach enables us to work with whole cohorts of villages at once, to rapidly set up productive and financially stable waste management systems in their communities.

In 2020 we launched the Rethinking Recycling Academy in six villages in Denpasar, which are now in implementation phase and—on track to bring recycling services to 125,000 people by the end of 2022.

Learn More About The Rethinking Recycling Academy

Our Impact

125k
Number of people we are on track to reach with recycling and waste management services by 2022, most of whom had no access to these services before
~250
Community workers and stakeholders trained through our Rethinking Recycling Academy sessions
200%
Increase in salary achieved for 80+ waste workers

Approach

Partnering to Scale Impact Across
Indonesia and Southeast Asia

Our partners across the waste management ecosystem have been vital to our scaling initiative, the Rethinking Recycling Academy’s success. For delivering capability building, we’ve drawn on the global waste management expertise of Avfall Norge, through the programme Clean Oceans through Clean Communities (CLOCC), the digital education expertise of Quipper, and the deep local insight of recycling innovator EcoBali. Our funding partners, like the Alliance to End Plastic Waste have made development of the Academy content possible, while other partners such as WWF through its Plastic Smart Cities initiative and PRAISE have supported infrastructure investments as villages implement their Academy learnings. We also partner closely with the Indonesian ministries that enable coordinated buildout of and investment in waste management systems nationally. And of course, the true protagonists of the Academy are the communities themselves, leading transformations that they own and co-design from day one.

With each new cohort we will learn what works and refine our materials and processes allowing us to scale more efficiently. Our goal is to expand into other parts of Indonesia and Southeast Asia in the coming years.


Leveraging Technology

As part of the on-the-ground support component of the Academy, we have built digital tools to boost and accelerate positive change across multiple communities. We believe human-centered technology is key to achieving impact at the scale and speed that the waste crisis demands.

Based on working hand-in-hand with local waste management operators, we developed an operations platform to meet the urgent need for reliable operational data and professionalizing business practices. Features of this web and mobile app include customer management, automated payments and payment tracking, waste material tracking, and sales tracking of recyclable materials and compost, all designed for a manual labor and limited digital literacy context. On-time and accurate payments by customers have gone up dramatically, and site managers are able to quickly identify and troubleshoot operational or financial issues.

Digital technology also holds great promise for improving and sustaining recycling habits. With our WhatsApp chatbot (named Ami, short for “Ayomilah” or “Let’s sort” in Bahasa), community members and program champions get immediate answers about what’s recyclable, what’s compostable, collection days for different waste categories, and when payments are due. The chatbot also sends personalized messages to remind people how to sort their waste correctly, and early results show improved sorting accuracy and participation by pilot customers.

Follow our Recycling Chatbot Ami


Building Supply, Increasing Demand

We have hosted design workshops with local nonprofits, recycling companies, and corporate end buyers, including one of the largest association of packaging and recycling companies – PRAISE, whose founding members include the largest consumer goods companies in Indonesia:  Coca-Cola Indonesia, Danone Indonesia, PT Indofood Sukses Makmur Tbk., PT Nestlé  Indonesia, Tetra Pak Indonesia, and PT Unilever Indonesia Tbk. These workshops highlighted the keys to unlocking the productivity of Indonesia’s recycling ecosystem: reliable supply at scale for recycling processors; pricing and quality within competitive range of virgin materials; traceability to enable inventory tracking and prevention of environmental and human rights abuses. We’re now turning to solving these supply chain and demand challenges in collaboration with local and global corporate partners.

What’s Ahead

  • Expanding Rethinking Recycling Academy across Bali to reach more than 2 million people
  • Expanding to other parts of Indonesia, such as rural island areas
  • Accelerating investment in recycling industry capacity
  • Bringing traceability and transparency throughout the value chain, through digital and process innovations
  • Applying what we’ve learned across Southeast Asia and our work in Latin America

Our Indonesia Team

Abby Phung
Project Lead
Ade Awang Surya
Agent
Aditya Rachman
Program Manager
Adrian Widjaja
Project Lead, Indonesia
Audrina Audrina
Fellow
Arum Sabrina
Human Resources Lead
Ayu Winastri
Senior Coordinator
Brian Obie
Change Agent
Dewa Made Juli Santika
Change Agent
Djun Saripurnawan
Senior Coordinator
Dwi Dharmiyanti
Associate
Faradesi Ardialisa
Senior Project Lead, Partnerships
Glenn Mardianto Prasetya
Digital Senior Associate
Hadohoan (Doan) Simaremare
Operations Associate
I Made Cahya Narayana
Senior Coordinator
I Nyoman Sukarja
Affiliated Waste Worker
Indra Setiawardana
Project Lead
Inten Gianina
Senior Coordinator
Juliati Ng
Project Lead
Laura Harjanto
Associate
Maung Sutikno
Senior Associate
Metilova Sitorus
Senior Coordinator
Mufti Almufarid
Associate
Novena Parengkuan
Coordinator
Oming Nyoman Wibawa
Agent
Pasek Supande
Agent
Rafael Roca Gonzales
Senior Program Manager
Sathya Deva
Associate
Sintha Aryaningrat
Senior Coordinator
Siswoyo
Affiliated Waste Worker
Siti Hotimah
Affiliated Waste Worker
Surya Dharma
Coordinator
Tethy Cahyati
Senior Coordinator
Tika Diagenstya
Senior Associate
Tri Dewanti Handayani
Senior Education Associate
Trisna Putu
Coordinator
Tomo Soleh
Affiliated Waste Worker
Try Wahyni
Agent
Widi Ginanjar
Senior Coordinator
Wija Kusumastuti
Project Lead

Indonesia Partners

Alliance to End Plastic Waste
The Alliance to End Plastic Waste is an international non-profit partnering with government, environmental and economic development NGOs and communities around the world to address the challenge to end plastic waste in the environment. Through programmes and partnerships, the Alliance focuses on solutions in four strategic areas: infrastructure, innovation, education and engagement, and clean up. As of January 2021, the Alliance has more than 50 member companies and supporters representing global companies and organisations across the plastic value chain. For more information, visit: www.endplasticwaste.org
Amcor
Amcor is a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, home and personal-care, and other products. Amcor works with leading companies around the world to protect their products and the people who rely on them, differentiate brands, and improve supply chains through a range of flexible and rigid packaging, specialty cartons, closures, and services. The company is focused on making packaging that is increasingly light-weighted, recyclable and reusable, and made using an increasing amount of recycled content. Around 46,000 Amcor people generate $13 billion in annual sales from operations that span about 225 locations in 40-plus countries.
Beiersdorf
Website
Climate and Clean Air Coalition
Dow
Global Methane Hub
GS1
Website
IPRO
Website
Minderoo Foundation
Minderoo Foundation Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organization seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean conservation and ending slavery, to collaboration against cancer and building community projects.
Plastic Smart Cities
Plastic Smart Cities is a WWF initiative working with cities worldwide to keep plastic out of nature. Since 2018, the initiative supports cities and coastal centres that are taking bold action to stop plastic pollution. WWF is working with 25 pilot cities to achieve a 30% reduction in plastic leakage by 2025, through better waste management and advancing circular economy. Together, we aim to achieve 1000 plastic-smart cities globally to join this movement by 2030. For more information, visit plasticsmartcities.org.
Walmart.org
Together, Walmart and the Walmart Foundation generally provide more than $1 billion in cash and in-kind to support programs that align with their philanthropic priorities. They focus on areas where we can do the most good - combining the unique strengths of the business alongside our philanthropy.
Almado
Almado is an Argentina-based consultancy and social enterprise that helps organizations develop strategies and solutions to social challenges that have high social, environmental and economic impact and return on investment. Almado brings deep experience and relationships from working with both informal settlement communities, as well as private sector and impact investors. By collaborating with other cooperatives, city governments, and social enterprises, Almado hopes solutions like this can be quickly scaled up across and beyond Argentina.
Badung Regency
Website
Bali Government
Website
Bintix

Bintix Waste Research is a Hyderabad, India-based company and works in the field of waste management and recycling. Bintix believes that the optimal use of technology-driven operations optimisation is a key towards making waste management a more sustainable endeavour, both at the generator level (e.g. households) and at the processor-level (e.g. waste management entities). Bintix’s existing software has been field tested for nearly 2 years now and has been fine-tuned extensively across a customer base consisting of 5000+ customers in several cities/regions and has helped meticulously track and recycle>200 MT of waste into more than 30 streams.

City of Buenos Aires – Secretariat of Social and Urban Integration
The Secretariat for Social and Urban Integration of the City of Buenos Aires is undertaking an ambitious project to transform Barrio 31, one of the oldest informal settlements in the city, by improving access to education, health and economic opportunities; and ensuring basic services and adequate housing. The project also focuses on improving public spaces and developing innovative strategies to encourage better economic, cultural and social integration between Barrio 31 and other areas of Buenos Aires.
Clean Oceans through Clean Communities
Clean Oceans through Clean Communities (CLOCC) is an initiative by Avfall Norge, with ISWA as implementing partner. CLOCC is supported by Norad, and is a part of the Norwegian government’s development programme to reduce marine plastic pollution and microplastics. CLOCC’s partners include InSWA (Indonesia Solid Waste Association), Rethinking Recycling Academy and SYSTEMIQ. CLOCC’s objective is to reduce marine plastic pollution through improving waste management on land.
Conexión Reciclado
Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs (Indonesia)
Website
EcoBali
Established in 2006, ecoBali is a waste management company working in the south of Bali, Indonesia. The organization works to encourage a zero-waste lifestyle and promote responsible waste management through the collection, recycling and composting of waste. It operates its own Material Recovery Facility,conducts educational programs in schools and communities, and designs and markets eco-friendly products. EcoBali has developed tailored programs in waste management (including Waste Banks), environmental education and sustainable lifestyle, and has established extended producer responsibility programs together with companies such as Tetra Pak, The Body Shop, AQUA and Bali Buda.
ECOPEK
Website
Ministry of Environment and Forestry (Indonesia)
Website
Ministry of National Development Planning (Indonesia)
Website
Ministry of Public Works and Housing (Indonesia)
Website
Olavarría

Olavarría is located in the center of the Province of Buenos Aires and was founded on November 25, 1867. It has numerous green spaces and a large park that borders the Tapalqué Stream. Due to its strategic position, it has a great influence that has favored its growth. There is a balance between the harmony of a town and the hustle and bustle of a big city, generating an ideal environment to rest and/or to be able to choose to enjoy several activities to do and to feel new experiences in the free times. That is why the management of the environment and the improvement in the quality of life of its population is a strategic issue for the city.

Recicleiros
Website
RIL – Red de Innovación Local
RIL (from their name in spanish Red de Innovación Local) is a non-partisan and non-profit civil association that works with local government teams with the objective of enhancing their management capabilities and strengthening their transformative power to improve the quality of life of their citizens and help them develop. RIL works in Argentina with more than 1,400 local officials from 280 cities, 69 cities from other 11 countries in Latin America and 20 cities from Europe and Africa. The cities that are part of the network have access to programs and tools to turn into collaborative, innovative, efficient, sustainable, and digital cities.
Second Muse
Second Muse believes that economies are easily shaped and influenced in their infancy, so they start by supporting entrepreneurs and the ecosystems around them. They do this by engaging participants and organizations through a mix of innovation programming (hackathons, incubators, accelerators), supporting ecosystem development, and designing and distributing investment funds.
SweepSmart
Website
SYSTEMIQ
SYSTEMIQ is a systems change company that partners with business, finance, policy-makers, and civil society to make economic systems truly sustainable. We combine high-level research with high-impact, on-the-ground work. We’re a “think-and-do” tank that sparks good disruptions and operates with purpose at our core.
Waste 4 Change
Waste 4 Change is focused on changes in the Responsible Waste Management Ecosystem Based on Collaboration and Technology Towards the Implementation of a Circular Economy and a Waste-Free Indonesia
Business Coalition for a Global Plastics Treaty
Website
C40
C40 is a network of nearly 100 cities working to deliver the urgent action needed right now to confront the climate crisis and create a future where everyone, everywhere can thrive. Mayors of C40 cities are committed to using a science-based and collaborative approach to help the world limit global heating to 1.5°C and build healthy, equitable and resilient communities. Around the world, sustainable urban waste management practices can improve public health and economic opportunity. When approached holistically, waste and sustainable materials management can help cities reduce 15-20% of their emissions through reduction, avoidance, recycling, treatment and offsetting. C40 supports cities to take significant steps towards a future without waste by reducing waste generation, increasing diversion and reducing disposal, reducing GHG emissions through sustainable waste and regenerative materials management, and deploying tactics to enhance sustainable consumption and the circular economy. Additionally, support is provided to accelerate policies and actions that increase waste minimization, reduction and resource recovery and treatment. C40 delivers support through two waste-related networks and the Advancing Towards Zero Waste Declaration.
Circulate Capital
Circulate Capital is an investment management firm that is dedicated to incubating and financing companies, projects, and infrastructure that prevent the flow of plastic waste into the world’s ocean while advancing the circular economy in South and Southeast Asia. Circulate Capital is an independent organization backed by many of the world’s leading multinational corporations.
Climate and Clean Air Coalition
Council for Inclusive Capitalism
Website
EcoSattva Environmental Solutions
Innovation Alliance for a Global Plastics Treaty
Website
Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment
Rare’s Center for Behavior & the Environment (BE.Center) is the world’s first center dedicated exclusively to behavioral science and design for the environment. With a diverse team of world-class behavioral and social scientists, designers, and trainers, we connect research and insights from behavioral and social sciences and design thinking to practitioners on the frontlines of our most urgent environmental challenges.
Ocean Plastics Leadership Network
Website
PREVENT Waste Alliance
Initiated by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the PREVENT Waste Alliance was launched in May 2019. It serves as a platform for exchange and international cooperation. Organisations from the private sector, academia, civil society and public institutions jointly engage for a circular economy.
The Circulate Initiative

The Circulate Initiative is a non-profit organization committed to solving the ocean plastic pollution challenge by supporting the incubation of circular, inclusive and investible waste management and recycling systems and generating insights that accelerate investment and scale.

The World Economic Forum
The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
The Forum engages the foremost political, business, cultural and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
Amcor
Amcor is a global leader in developing and producing responsible packaging for food, beverage, pharmaceutical, medical, home and personal-care, and other products. Amcor works with leading companies around the world to protect their products and the people who rely on them, differentiate brands, and improve supply chains through a range of flexible and rigid packaging, specialty cartons, closures, and services. The company is focused on making packaging that is increasingly light-weighted, recyclable and reusable, and made using an increasing amount of recycled content. Around 46,000 Amcor people generate $13 billion in annual sales from operations that span about 225 locations in 40-plus countries.
Dow
Mars, Incorporated
Mars, Incorporated is driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. As a global, family-owned business, Mars is transforming, innovating, and evolving to make a positive impact on the world.  Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of quality snacking, food, and pet care products and services, we employ 140,000+ dedicated Associates. With more than $45 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world’s best-loved brands including Ben’s Original™, CESAR®, Cocoavia®, DOVE®, EXTRA®, KIND®, M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, and WHISKAS®. We are creating a better world for pets through our global network of pet hospitals and diagnostic services – including AniCura, BANFIELD™, BLUEPEARL™, Linnaeus and VCA™ – using cutting edge technology to develop breakthrough programs in genetic health screening and DNA testing. For more information about Mars, please visit www.mars.com.
Minderoo Foundation
Minderoo Foundation Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, Minderoo Foundation is a modern philanthropic organization seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean conservation and ending slavery, to collaboration against cancer and building community projects.
P&G
P&G serves consumers around the world with one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Always®, Ambi Pur®, Ariel®, Bounty®, Charmin®, Crest®, Dawn®, Downy®, Fairy®, Febreze®, Gain®, Gillette®, Head & Shoulders®, Lenor®, Olay®, Oral-B®, Pampers®, Pantene®, SK-II®, Tide®, Vicks®, and Whisper®. The P&G community includes operations in approximately 70 countries worldwide. Please visit https://www.pg.com for the latest news and information about P&G and its brands. For other P&G news, visit us at https://www.pg.com/news
McKinsey & Company
McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm committed to helping organizations create positive, enduring change in the world. Our approach to social responsibility includes empowering our people to give back to their communities, operating our firm in ways that are environmentally sustainable and socially responsible, and working with our clients to serve all stakeholders to achieve holistic impact. Since 2018, McKinsey & Company has supported Rethinking Recycling through its foundation, McKinsey.org.

Rethinking Recycling Academy’s (organization’s) work on the ground has really inspired us to look at an integrated recycling solution for Bali that empowers the community to solve their waste management challenges. Not only does it impact the environment, the work also enables change for the waste workers and the ecosystem. We look forward to continue learning and working with you.

Rofi Alhanif
Assistant Deputy of Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Investment, Indonesia