Bali’s international reputation as the world’s leading Island holiday destination is threatened by the growing piles of plastic waste that has become a by-product of modern life.
To help rescue the Island from encroaching piles of plastic trash, to celebrate National Waste Awareness Day (Hari Peduli Sampah National), Danone-AQUA supports Indonesia’s transition to a circular economy.
Circular Economy Explained
Moving beyond the take-make-waste extractive industrial model, the circular economy seeks to redefine growth by creating benefits for society as a whole. Proponents of the circular economy movement try to eliminate or reduce the use of finite resources and create benefits from the waste that is a by-product of manufacturing processes. Using renewable energy sources, the circular economic model creates value, preserves the natural environment, and builds social capital.
Together with National Geographic Indonesia, Danone-AQUA, the Malu Dong Community, Systemiq, and Octopus Indonesia joined a webinar on 19 February 2021. This was followed by a beach clean-up event and webinar with One Island One Voice on 21 February to discuss finding joint solutions between the local community and the private sectors.
According to recent findings by the National Plastic Action Partnership released in April 2020, plastic waste volumes in 2020 reached 6.8 million tons in Indonesia. The report predicted that plastic waste would continue to increase by 5% each year.
President Director of Danone-AQUA, Corine Tap, said the only way to achieve the Indonesian government’s target of reducing plastic waste in the oceans by 70% before 2025 would be to commit to a holistic circular economic approach. This goal requires innovation of product packaging, plastic waste collection, and consumer education.
Danone’s CEO admits that waste management in Indonesia is a very complicated problem. The Company was among the first to acknowledge that a multi-stakeholder coalition’s contributing efforts are needed to meet the plastic waste challenge. Head of Danone’s Climate & Water Stewardship, Ratih Anggraeni, said during the webinar that Danone-AQUA believes the circular economy concept is the key solution to solving the plastic waste issues across Indonesia. Ratih said: “We have implemented numerous innovative waste management initiatives starting from grassroots to the recycling facilities and innovative packaging. We are committed to utilizing collected materials as our source to produce new packaging for our water bottle products, thus reducing plastic waste into the environment, and which embodies Danone’s global vision – One Planet, One Health.”
Ratih added that AQUA, as the largest bottled mineral water Company in Indonesia, uses unique and integrated solutions to actively address plastic waste issues. “We are committed to achieving targets of producing 100% recyclable packaging by 2025. To achieve this target, we continue our commitment to packaging innovation to provide healthy hydration for all Indonesians by reducing and ultimately eliminating the impact of current and future plastic waste. Since 1983, we launched environmentally friendly packaging for our AQUA Jugs, achieving 70% of our business is circular. We continue to innovate our packaging and have already launched in Bali various new products, including a 600 ml container this year, and a 1-liter bottle, which both use 100% rPET (recycled PET) plastic. We also have increased our commitment to consumer education to schools on the understanding what the circular economy is about,” she added.
In 2018, Danome-AQUA identified Bali as a “world-class” case study that has become the Company’s focus for implementing extensive sustainability initiatives. The Company has been quietly working with multiple partners to address Bali’s plastic waste challenges.
Danome-AQUA admits many steps are still to be taken to achieve behavioral and consumer changes needed across the Island.
Lincoln Rajali Sihotang, Program Manager Sistemiq said, “according to our research, 829 tons of plastic waste is generated in Bali every day, but only 57 tons (7%) is recycled. Meanwhile, 89 tons (11%) remain in the water system flowing to the ocean. We are also trying to map out the waste and composition in many locations. We need to understand community behavior, understand the river water system itself, and look at waste disposal habits and protocols. We hope this data will become the basis on which to plan more effective solutions to solving waste management.”
Since Danone launched its #BijakBerplastik campaign in 2018, the Company has been promoting plastic waste management through various public campaigns, focusing on three pillars:
· Collection – in 2018, more than 1,100 scavengers joined two Bali AQUA Recycling Business Units (RBU) in Tohpati, Denpasar, and Lepang, Klungkung in a collection project. For the scavengers, plastic waste provides economic benefits. Danone-AQUA is now working on creative ways to increase scavengers’ welfare by providing them with a digitalized collection service through a recently launched Octopus Digital Application. This application enables consumers in Badung and Denpasar to call the scavengers to collect plastic bottles directly from their homes or workplaces to be taken for collection to a nearby recycling point. Since early 2021, more than 1,000 users in Bali have utilized the Octopus Application.
· Education – partnering with the Indonesia Ministry of Culture and Education, Indonesia Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment, Yayasan Lentera Anak, and the University of Indonesia, Danone-AQUA launched the educational book “Sampahku Tanggung Jawabku” (“My Waste is My Responsibility”) targeting elementary school children. Since 2020, partnering with EcoBali, Danone-AQUA has distributed the book to ten schools in Badung Regency, the City of Denpasar, and Gianyar Regency, reaching more than 2,400 students. Local communities also support the educational program with the opening of 10 waste-banks (Bank Sampah) from Danone-AQUA in partnership with Yayasan Bali Wastu Lestari in Ubud.
· Innovation – Danone-AQUA’s commitment is to produce plastic packaging that can be 100% recycled by 2025. In 2019, Danone-AQUA pioneered the first 100% fully recycled PET plastic bottle, AQUALife, and have continued their innovation by relaunching the Returnable Glass Bottle, which is produced to serve the hospitality sector. Recently, Danone-AQUA launched its new 100% fully recycled 600ml PET Bottle, currently only available in Bali.
Since 2015, Danone-AQUA has collected more plastic bottles in Bali than the Company used through multiple partnerships with local NGOs and community groups, scavengers, and waste banks.
“Waste collection through the new Octopus Application has proven to be very efficient. Within less than three years, we have 19,000 users, built partnerships with more than 2,700 scavengers, and collect 9 tons of plastic waste in Makassar and Bali. The successful partnership with Danone-AQUA has pushed us to replicate the waste collection method in Jakarta and Bandung in 2021,” said Mohammad Ichsan, co-founder and CEO Octopus Indonesia.
“Through an efficient waste management process, we believe the community can now actively participate within their surrounding ecosystem and environment, thus helping to improve the conditions of our oceans,” he added.
Komang Bimo, Founder of Malu Dong Community, commented, “Bali has always been known as a world-class tourism destination. However, although many internationally-based ideas and initiatives are being implemented, we need to remember that local wisdom and culture remain strong. That makes Bali unique. I believe a community-based approach will remain the most effective way to help solve the plastic waste challenge. No matter how small the effort, the need for consistent programs and ideas within our young Balinese people will ultimately bring about positive and improved changes in waste disposal habits across the wider community.”
Danone-AQUA is committed to accelerating Indonesia’s transition to a circular economy while solving the problem of plastic waste.