Asia is the largest waste generating continent on the planet, and waste management infrastructures have proved to be inefficient for various reasons during the last few decades. Under the current business-as-usual scenario, it is estimated that in 2025 Asian cities alone will generate 1.8 billion tonnes of waste per year. This is over 540% more than in 2012. Solid waste is without a doubt a real issue that is affecting the planet today.
A holistic approach is needed to tackle waste, but also to provide socio-cultural solutions that can be normalised into the local practice. With this in mind, Bali is becoming a hotspot for movements, start-ups, informal sector projects and local grass root initiatives that have openly declared a war on waste. Get inspired by the latest projects we have discovered!
The R.O.L.E. Foundation is a not for profit organisation that has three main areas of work: education outreach, sustainable business opportunities for local entrepreneurs and environmental campaigns. The education outreach program targets schools, governments and local businesses to work towards zero waste to oceans. Their sustainable business development plan provides opportunities for local start-ups and social entrepreneurs that prioritise environmental protection. Finally, the awareness-raising campaigns operate in conjunction with key stakeholders in the destination to promote sustainability.
The R.O.L.E. Foundation has recently built the first Community Environment & Skills Centre in Nusa Dua, particularly focused on waste management education and outreach.
MPH works alongside villages in Bali to create locally own waste facilities that take a circular economy approach. Its aim is to move from the current unsuccessful waste management system to one that brings back useful materials into the product chain. Their approach is to empower local communities to identify waste management as an opportunity, not only for the environment and their own health but also as a resource for job creation, economic growth, and environmental education.
Waste separation at source is key for the MPH program. Local waste facilities that receive pre-sorted refuse can manage over 10 times more waste, correctly dispose of 90% of it and reintegrate unwanted materials into the local economy.
Trash Hero is a global initiative run by volunteers and sponsors with a big impact in 9 countries, and it is particularly going strong in South East Asia. Their aim is to engage with communities to clean their environment, whilst running educational programs to teach the youth to love nature and learn about the damage of trash in the oceans.
In 2016, the Trash Hero chapter in Indonesia had already organised 252 cleanups, involving 6250 heroes of 7 different villages that collected 36 tons of trash.
Bondalem is a traditional village in the North of Bali where ex-pro surfer Matt Elks and local visionary Madja came together to develop an effective waste management system.
They have transformed Bondalem’s inefficient landfilled site into a new recycling facility.
The system of the recycling area works under a very simple action: to separate dry and wet waste at source. If they are able to empower women in the community to make this small action, they are hoping to send to landfill only 10% of the current waste generated by the entire village.
The Hub is an initiative of Jane Fisher and Steve Palmer to provide a way to connect the public, private, NGOs and any other user interested in finding business working towards sustainability in the island. Their newest adventure is the development of a mobile-friendly App that works around keywords and it is similar to Facebook and Instagram so that the featured business can be found with ease.
This is the perfect example of how a simple idea can spread like wildfire. Refill my bottle started in Bali as a way to provide refill stations for people to refill their water bottle instead of buying a new single-use plastic one. After obtaining a good response from local businesses, the media, and travellers, they got support from outbound tour operators that wish to positively contribute to the plastic issue in the destinations they sell.
Refill my Bottle is soon become a movement against plastic waste, that connects like-minded businesses with tourists who want to reduce their plastic footprint whilst on holiday.
What these projects have in common is that they believe that collective change is possible and that by creating sustainable communities for people to live, we could truly offer better places to visit. This is an approach much needed not only in the country but in many other destinations of the world. We cannot wait to hear how these initiatives develop in the near future!
Angela Rodriguez is travelling the world discovering sustainable tourism stories to tell. She work with responsible tourism tour operators and travel companies to help them communicate sustainability in an innovative and inspiring way, connecting people who are doing great things and inquisitive travellers who love to discover the real essence of the places they are visiting.