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Waste Reduction

Eat, Pray, and Recycle in Bali

Within the hamlets of Bali, the people are working in harmony to combat the issue of garbage to keep their island free of overflowing landfills.

Indonesia is fighting plastic waste pollution and an environmental crisis, But what if 80 % of the waste could be reused instead of ending up in a landfill? In Bali, an organization that is not for profit has demonstrated that this is possible by visiting villages through their Merah Putih Hijau (MPH) program. It is the MPH solution, created by an environmental NGO Bumi Sasmaya Foundation, that aims to address the root of the problem of overflowing garbage dumps by focusing on the separation of waste.

About 70 % of the garbage in Bali that ends up in landfills is organic waste that could be transformed into compost. If left, unsorted organic waste is impeded from undergoing the natural decomposition cycle. When combined with other debris and piled up with other garbage, it emits the most unpleasant stench and leachate, harmful fluids that leach out and pollute the environment and the water.

With the rooster’s waste poop — and exacerbated by the pandemic over the last two years and the villages surrounding them suffer health and social consequences due to the massive amounts of methane gas emitted.

The idea of empowering Bali’s villages to take on the process of separating waste by separating trash into categories like organic, non-organic, and residuary waste is the Bumi Sasmaya Foundation’s solution for the issue. “The solution lies in our behavior. If our behavior can be changed and we are able to separate waste in a proper manner, and slow but steady, our issue with waste will disappear,” says Agaysta Yatra, who runs the foundation.

Sharing Social Responsibility

On various days of the week, trucks that are colorcolor-coded — either black, red-white, or green are visible in certain villages of Bali, indicating to the locals what kind of waste is being taken away.

The MPH approach to controlling waste disposal shifts the burden to people responsible for sorting out household waste. Organic waste that is collected is then taken to a 3R Transfer Depo (TPS3R) Waste management center, where it is utilized to create quality compost that isfarmers then useo reuse the land. At this point, around 80-90 percent of the waste that will end up in landfills has been given an alternative use.

To get buy-in from villages, The foundation’s staff members work for weeks, sometimes even months, learning about the specific requirements of every town. “Using a socio-cultural approach, MPH aims to meet the village’s needs at where they are and journey with them,” Agas says. Agas.

In collaboration with the village governor and local chiefs, MPH also rallied residents to join the eco-championship, educating and promoting awareness of the importance of recycling in their local communities.

Donations are the primary source of funding. The foundation has a presence in 15 villages in Bali, including Pejeng and Taro -The latter has been called a successful model due to its harmonious collaboration with many parties.

“Our habits must change,” Agas insists, noting that a reset of the behavioral system is crucial to establishing an effective program.

“Our aim is to create an economy that is circular. The economy will be able to survive, where 3R-Transfer Depo (TPS3R) and our mentorship system in the village will continue to operate by itself,” Agas shares, to use this model’s success to inspire other provinces to fight the issue of garbage in Indonesia in a coordinated manner.

About Merah Putih Hijau (MPH)

Merah Putih Hijau is a mentoring program created by the environmental non-profit Bumi Sasmaya Foundation in 2016 to provide villages in Bali with information and resources to take charge of their garbage. They collaborate with the heads of villages, young groups, women’s groups, schools and communities to improve the way in which these villages handle their waste.

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Jane S. King

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