Waste banks in Indonesia are local communities-led collection points for plastic and paper waste. The communities also conduct sessions to create awareness on plastic waste prevention.
Nearly all districts in Indonesia boast of clean neighborhoods. The streets are litter-free. It is as if the residents don’t generate waste at all. However, they have given away their household plastic and paper waste to ‘waste banks,’ and earned from it as well. Enviu could not but ignore this Indonesia government-backed program, spearheaded by women from local communities. They share the same mission as Enviu venture Koinpack: prevent plastic waste from ending up in landfills, turn them into a resource, and empower communities in the process.
Locally known as ‘bank sampah,’ waste banks in Indonesia are government-owned organizations for each district to recycle plastic waste. It acts as a collection point for non-organic household wastes (plastic, glass, and paper). Like a commercial bank, residents open an account with these waste banks, make periodic deposits in the form of non-organic waste, and are paid the monetary value equivalent to the amount of waste deposited.
Every two weeks, the waste banks collect such waste, sort it, and give it to the government, who, in turn, sells it to local recycling agents or upcycling agents for processing. In Indonesia, every district is encouraged to set up a waste bank, which is counted as a parameter for success. Several districts have at least five to 10 waste banks.
Enviu identified an opportunity in this local initiative to push Koinpack’s mission: reusing packaging.
When Enviu saw an opportunity in waste banks in Indonesia
The Koinpack team was in the process of identifying points where communities in Indonesia can gather and adopt sustainable solutions. That was when their attention fell on waste banks.
These waste banks engage in the central activity of separating waste while receiving incentives from the government. Enviu perceived this as a significant milestone in addressing the existing barrier of knowledge on the importance of plastic prevention.
Besides, the waste banks in Indonesia have women leaders, who have considerable reach and influence in their local communities. They organize regular meetings and employ social media platforms to talk about waste mismanagement, especially plastic waste, and ways to improve it.
Plus, these local points are already set up across Jakarta. This was a great mix for scaling up that prompted Enviu to bring waste banks on board, and leverage the local partnership to plug the plastic leak.
Incidentally, another aspect of Koinpack that aligns with the idea of a waste bank is the incentive. Enviu’s Koinpack venture functions on a deposit-based reuse system, and a return-on-the-go model. Consumers can purchase their preferred brand of detergents and shampoos in Koinpack’s reusable bottles, as opposed to the sachets of these products. When they return the bottle and reuse it, they get a cashback, or discount, as a small incentive.
This incentive model can be efficiently replicated within these local communities through the waste banks.
How Enviu banks on local waste banks in Indonesia
The Enviu team in Indonesia reached out to the waste banks, asking them to not just collect plastic waste, but also advocate reducing plastic waste by reusing it.
For this, Koinpack roped in women leaders as a salesperson for the venture, while the waste banks serve as the salespoint for returnable and reusable plastic packaging. The concomitant impact of this model is the added income for the women leaders, and the sense that they are contributing to the cause.
The Koinpack team currently sets up stalls every week to induct and onboard the women leaders in these waste banks.
This way, Enviu has gradually been able to scale Koinpack’s impact across several districts. Currently, more than 100 waste banks across Jakarta have partnered with Koinpack as salespoints in local communities.