New programme to build sustainable waste management systems in Indonesia

The Indonesian Government has unveiled plans for a new programme aiming to better sustainable waste management systems throughout the country.

Indonesian flag 2The new programme, titled the ‘Bersih Indonesia: Eliminasi Sampah Plastik programme’, aims to fulfil targets outlined under the state’s National Action Plan for Marine Debris Handling and National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP).

The Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs (CMMAI) has partnered with the Malang Regency and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (Alliance) to deliver the project, pinned as the world’s largest public-private partnership for waste management.

With an aim to reduce marine plastic waste leakage by 70 per cent before 2025, Bersih Indonesia forms part of the country’s projected USD 18 Billion capital investment into waste management between 2017 and 2040, in line with its wider national priorities for sustainability.

The project will focus on enhancing collection, sorting, processing, and recycling, whilst attempting to address financial challenges plaguing the sector by optimising running costs and widening revenue streams via the implementation of collection fees for residents plus higher income from materials.

Introducing regional collection fees – as well as setting up an autonomous public utility department – may ensure dedicated funding, better governance, and accountability for the delivery of more effective waste management services. The goal over time is to demonstrate a financially sustainable operating model that can be replicated across different areas in Indonesia and beyond.

By doing so, the programme plans to put forward a financially sustainable plastic waste management scheme in emerging markets which can be imitated outside of the country’s borders. To bring this to other regencies in Indonesia, discussions are also being had with the central government and financial development institutions, Alliance has said.

In its initial rollout, the project will be introduced in phases across three regions in the Java area – starting in Malang, before moving onto Magelang, and Sukabumi – with a combined population of 6.5 million. These areas combined will have the capacity to collect over 800,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste and divert 140,000 tonnes of plastic waste each year, with the potential to create 8,000 jobs.

Collection services for Phase One of the project will span over 3,500 square kilometres. To optimise logistics, detailed feasibility studies across 390 villages were conducted.

Phase One of the project will also see the establishment of a single, integrated, end-to-end waste management system across Malang, with the construction of ‘purpose-built facilities and infrastructure’ – the objective being that, over time, it will link existing waste services with the new system.

The project will also co-locate and develop five new material recovery facilities and transfer stations that will be served by a newly established network of household collection services, in order to provide full coverage across the regions.

These new systems, Alliance told Resource, are designed in close consultation with the local government so that new infrastructure complements existing systems and the regions’ waste management capacity and capability are boosted.

Through community engagement and education programmes in schools, Bersih Indonesia hopes to bolster waste management and recycling literacy across the population, so that more effective household waste segregation is encouraged in preparation for the new system.

According to Alliance, similar schemes could be implemented to achieve sustainable waste management systems and a circular economy for other materials – especially with ‘the right approach, partners, and enablers in place’.

The non-profit organisation says it understands the ‘unique characteristics of each material’s life cycle’, whilst applying general principles of enhancing collection, sorting, and increasing the amount of quality feedstock. The Bersih Indonesia progamme will work with traders to offtake material including glass, paper, metal and plastic waste, to enable more stable revenue streams, mitigating running costs.

Speaking alongside the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Indonesia’s Coordinating Minister for Maritime and Investment Affairs, said: “Innovation and collaboration will be crucial in tackling the plastic waste problem.

“The Bersih Indonesia programme must be able to combine waste management models with circular economy principles to increase the economic value of plastic waste and facilitate the development of downstream ecosystems. It will pioneer new revenue streams to extract maximum value from materials including glass, paper, metal, and plastic waste.”

Kristin Hughes, Director of the Global Plastic Action Partnership, World Economic Forum, added: “The Global Plastic Action Partnership and its national platforms were designed to drive significantly more action to match the scale of the plastic waste challenge.

“Multi-stakeholder collaboration reflects the responsibility that all actors – from industry to governments to the public – have to eliminate plastic waste in the environment. The Bersih Indonesia programme is representative of that kind of collective action needed.”

Alliance’s President and CEO Jacob Duer, stated: “Bersih Indonesia builds on the existing momentum created by the government to advance waste management capacity and capability in Indonesia.

“The programme also has the potential to create a blueprint for financially sustainable waste management systems in emerging markets, where investment in this space has traditionally been a significant hurdle.

“The Alliance and its partners look forward to continuing the close collaboration with the central and local government to enable the delivery of a system that supports Indonesia’s plastic waste-free ambitions.”