Started as a plastic conscious movement back in 2012, PlastikDetox Bali (PDB) has helped communities and businesses in “detoxing” Bali from its plastic addictions. The idea translated into its name using two languages widely used in Bali other than Basa Bali; ‘plastik’ from Bahasa Indonesia and ‘detox’ from English. It is an invitation and representation written with no space between the words to symbolize the continuous effort to detox ourselves from our addiction to excessive plastic usage.
Although it was started off with initiatives as simple as inviting people to bring their own bags and businesses to provide reusable bags, there was a heavy resistance and the idea of cutting plastic bags seems impossible for most people. This has created the idea of plastic addiction that requires a detox process. Within its roots, PDB states to be a non-anti-plastic movement but rather a movement to remind us that we don’t always need plastics. PlastikDetox’s vision is to find solutions for the plastic problem caused by excessive use through a combination of business incentives and behaviour change campaign.
“We invite small business for a free membership and support them to prevent plastic waste from single-use plastics. PDB encourages them not to use plastic excessively and discover affordable, locally produced and eco-friendlier alternatives. As incentives, we provide free training for the staff twice a year and opportunities for publication.” Says them in regards to their campaigns.
Read our full interview with PDB below to learn about the issues.
Who are the people behind PDB?
The four founders of PDB represent different communities living in Bali: Expats, Balinese and Indonesians with a combined background in environmental science, environmental studies, communication and public policy. However, the movers and shakers of PDB are our amazing campaign coordinator and volunteers to assist with contributing ideas, implementation, and visual design.
How do you see the progress since you started in 2012?
PDB has progressed from 90% rejection in the first year into having 19 committed members: restaurants, café, shops, and a hotel. The numbers of our members change from time to time as we monitor and evaluate their commitment. Some of the members increase their plastic reduction by for example providing net bags for the suppliers to make the delivery of the ingredients plastic-free. While sadly others, decide not to continue. Since 2017, PDB also supports events such as monthly market and festivals to reduce their single-use plastics.
In addition to our core activities, we also provide waste prevention training for non-members. This part of activity provides a small chunk of cross-subsidy to help our main target: the small businesses.
The training with PLN and Go Food
How do you see PDB could be one in many solutions of helping Indonesia (Bali specifically) bettering the plastic mishandling?
It is a fact that recycling alone will not be the solution for the plastic waste problem in Bali (or in any place). Prevention and reduction are the keys to prevent plastic mishandling. It is also important to redesign packaging to be less waste and provide refill stations for products as options for consumers. We need to keep in mind that a clean environment is our most precious living capital as all of our needs are sourced from the environment. Plastic is produced using fossil fuel. The process of plastic production is harmful to human health from pre-consumption to post-consumption. Limiting plastic usage and preventing plastic waste to enter the environment is a sure way to ensure the sustainability of ours and future generations. Make sure that everyone will still have enough resources to support their lives.
What are the campaigns you and the team have so far?
Our most precious asset at the moment is our committed team and our allies. Tackling an issue as large scale as plastic waste requires collaboration. Other than our waste prevention campaign for small businesses and events, we are also part of a coalition (KKPS-Koalisi Komunitas Peduli Sampah) whose mission is to ensure the Governor Regulation no. 97/2018 that ban the use of plastic bags, plastic straws and Styrofoam packaging is fully implemented, starting from the formal sector: that is businesses with legality status. It is still a long way to make Bali cleaner from plastic waste
In your own observations, how aware are people of Bali in plastic waste and the importance of recycling? And how the government itself handling it?
Thanks to some viral videos on plastic waste in Bali by tourists, many people in Bali are aware of the problem, but the mindset of blaming others (government, other islands, etc) is still the main reaction. Thankfully, the government made a bold decision to ban three main single-use plastics (plastic bags, styrofoam and straws), so even if people don’t realise that each of us can make a difference, we are forced to do so. Recycling is also rising through local waste banks set up throughout villages.
Are there any exciting projects in the near future that anyone can get involved in?
Our next project is developing TAKSU Deposit Scheme, as a business unit to support PDB activity. Since 2012, PDB is mainly self-funded by the founders. Now that there are significant interests to reduce plastic waste, we take this opportunity to expand our campaign to other types of small business, for example engaging a few shops in traditional markets.
TAKSU is an acronym for TAKe-reuSe-retUrn, providing rental for eating utensils for events to help them reduce their waste from packaging and single-use plastics. This service comes with additional options of customized design of visual materials and calculation of waste reduction. Anyone who wants to be involved or is keen to organize fewer waste events, please let us know.
Any advice/reminder you wish to tell?
When you come to Bali and find a business implementing waste reduction by using reusable and eco-friendlier alternatives, please acknowledge them online and directly to encourage them. Also always curious to ask the accommodation where you stay about where your waste goes. Any effort of reduction from you is highly appreciated. Bring your own reusable bags and bottles. Download Refill My Bottle app (https://refillmybottle.com/) to know where you can refill your water bottle. Say no to excessive packaging.
How can people learn more and reach to the team?
People can follow our victories and hopes on Instagram @plastikdetoxbali and facebook: plastikdetox. Our website is www.plastikdetox.com
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The team and their spirit in bettering Indonesia
Thank you PlastikDetox Bali for sharing the semangat story with us!
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