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Waste Reduction

The Reality of Fixing Waste and Recycling in Bali

A recent trip to Bali has triggered our creative scaling strategies

What specifically does Delterra do in the field to repair broken recycling and waste management systems?

Take a trip through an urban area located in Bali, Indonesia, where Delterra has been working for the last three years to develop solutions to the issue of waste. Delterra’s leadership team, Indonesia team together with partners recently came together to determine how best to scale the pilots across Bali and throughout Indonesia as well as to other countries in the region.

The Bali that you can’t find across social networks

Bali is a place that is famous worldwide for its stunning beaches with jungle villas, yoga and beach retreats. The island is visited by millions of people every year, and is also the location of this year’s G20 Leaders’ Summit this November, which will be the main focus of the world.

It appears to be a perfect getaway in the eastern part of the Indian Ocean. However, for those who are residents of the area they are aware that the everyday realities are far from idyllic.

One of the facts is the increasing quantity of plastic pollution as well as other garbage that is adding to the already over-capacity landfill, spilling into the ocean and into the environment.

Like many nations of the south of the globe with the history of colonization Indonesia does not have the resources infrastructure, infrastructure and the systems to effectively manage waste. In the Indonesia National Plastic Action Partnership estimates that removing the waste of plastic “requires capital investments of around $18 billion for waste management and recycling between 2017 and 2040, and an estimated $1 billion per year increase in operational financing for solid waste management systems by 2040”.

However, since “waste” is composed of substances that are valuable and can be used to create utilization within the circular economy report asserts that this isn’t the only cost that is sunk “The investment opportunity into circular economy sectors could grow to about $10 billion per year in revenue by 2040, driven by increased sales of recycled plastic, substitutable materials and revenue from new business models.”

Who will carry out the work necessary to fix these broken systems, design this new model of enterprise, and let the circular economy’s potential be realized?

This is a good option for glass, metals and certain kinds of plastics (e.g. PET bottles, plastic containers). Around 80% of the waste streams are organic, but there are currently no buyers (e.g. to compost). The same is true for the plastics with lower value (flexible or soft plastics).

We have had success in helping our citizens sort their waste, and also establishing sustainable businesses which are owned and operated through the local community.

The majority of the people taking part in the program sort their garbage for recycling The highest percentage in Indonesia and higher than the average across the world. We’ve demonstrated that much can be achieved starting from scratch by involving local communities and optimizing existing infrastructure. Sometimes, the most effective solutions don’t require radical changes of the entire system but more efficient ways of managing the waste to benefit communities and the environment.

Local ownership is the most likely to bring long-term change and allow Delterra to move away and focus on other areas. The six communities we tested were merely the proof of concept. After having learned a lot in the past three years we’re now in a position to test and develop a scaling strategy to more people and make significant progress towards tackling the issue of plastic waste.

The development of scalable solutions in conjunction

This was the motivation behind gathering our leadership team as well as partners in Bali to determine the best way to expand this model to Bali as well as Indonesia.

The trip began with a visit to one of Bali’s most extensive landfills to see the magnitude of the problem with waste and the grueling reality that is that the area is facing. The government plans to shut down the landfill this year.

Although humbling and eye-opening The visit to the landfill that is over capacity is a great reminder of the reason we are doing our work. The time was right to go to an of the recycle centres in which Delterra is trying to transform the way waste is dealt with and create jobs as well as pride and value in the local community.


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Jane S. King

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