Recycling used plastic bottles improves the lives of waste pickers in Bali

By Sophie van den Berg, solid waste expert and plastic recycling adviser at WASTE

By: Sophie van den Berg (WASTE), Novita Aisyah Malik (NAMASINDO Plas, Indonesia), Annemieke Beekmans (AIDENVIRONMENT)

When you think of Bali, you think of mystic places, beautiful rice terraces, white beaches and people adoring their Gods in typical Balinese temples. You don’t think of plastic waste littered alongside the roads and migrants from Java making a living from picking and selling waste. Still, this is also the reality of Bali. The increased tourism on Bali has resulted in an increase of amounts of plastic waste generated on this beautiful island. And whether the used plastic water bottles are waste for many people, for others they provide a source of income.

Waste pickers are the first link in a complex chain of collecting, sorting and selling waste materials. Used bottles picked up from the streets and the beaches of Bali finally end up at the recycling company in Bandung, Java, Indonesia named Namasindo Plas.

PT Namasindo PLAS is a leading supplier of gallons, bottles, bottle pre-forms, screw caps and cups to the bottled water industry in Indonesia (business-to-business clients).  PT Namasindo PLAS is also involved in PET recycling. The company has a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program and seeks to improve working conditions and the livelihoods of the waste pickers who provide the waste plastic bottles for recycling.

Aidenvironment and WASTE were contracted by the development finance institutions DEG (Germany) and FMO (Netherlands) and the Indonesian company PT Namasindo PLAS Indonesia to design and implement a Supply Chain and CSR program for the PET recycling branch of the business.

As part of this CSR program WASTE conducted a Training of Trainers workshop on January 14-15, 2016 in Denpasar, Bali for an audience of middlemen, representatives of collection centers and Namasindo and trainers. The aim of the workshop was to give background knowledge about specific issues such as different types of plastic, sorting of waste materials and prevention of child labor. At the same time useful learning methods and educational tools were demonstrated that can be used by trainers to more effectively reach the audience of adult waste pickers during workshops.

The participants took a very active role in all sessions and many fruitful discussions took place. The positive feedback showed that they feel better equipped to train waste pickers with the aim to improve their living and working conditions and at the same time increase their productivity in the supply chain of Namasindo.

As part of the CSR program, the waste pickers are also equipped by other related training subject such as : Health & Safety, Basic Administration Management, Capacity Building, etc.

Besides these training activities, NAMASINDO also takes part in supporting health programs for waste pickers communities, one of the examples is providing free clinics and also free medications to the waste pickers, routine health checking and vaccines.

Namasindo has not only been supporting the waste pickers community in terms of supporting their supply chains activities but as general Namasindo has made a great contributions in supporting the government of Indonesia by improving the livelihoods and community of waste pickers in Bali, Indonesia.

Do you have questions or ideas for collaborating? Contact Sophie van den Berg, solid waste expert and plastic recycling adviser at WASTE <svdberg[at]waste.nl>