Community solves its own trash problem
Made Bagiada had never dreamed of being a garbage collector until he started his venture to accept trash collected by scavengers in 1997.
After more than 20 years, Bagiada feels that trash management has become a robust business that can support his family.
Bagiada opens his “trash bank”, called Bank Sampah Cahaya Partha Jaya, every day, accepting piles of metal, plastic, paper and hard waste in his 2,000-square-meter workshop, which is at his residence on Jl. Noja Sari in Denpasar.
Scavengers come and go almost every minute, selling the trash they have collected to the bank.
An old man working as a cashier weighs the garbage and makes the appropriate payment.
When Bagiada first started the business, it was just collecting garbage, now it has grown into a professional bank.
Every member of the bank, as well as the scavengers, has two options — to save or to take their money. Every scavenger has his or her own bank account.
The collected trash is valued according to its type. The bank pays a higher value for metal and hard cardboard. “The price is changing every day, depending on the demands of the recycling factories in East Java,” Bagiada said.
Bagiada said that he was currently working with scavengers as collectors.
“But I have also worked with companies, schools, department stores and other establishments that send their waste to our bank. They usually have a bank account here, we will deposit their money into their account,” Bagiada said.
Every day, his trash bank receives around 5 tons of diverse garbage valued at around Rp 15 million (US$1,590).
The Denpasar administration has been encouraging people to establish garbage banks in Denpasar since 2010.
There are currently six operating in Denpasar managing more than 10 tons of the city’s trash every day. The city administration provides annual cash assistance of Rp 10 million to each of the garbage banks to support their operation. Dewa Anom Sayoga, secretary of Denpasar Sanitation and Landscape Agency, admitted that Denpasar municipal administration found it very difficult to properly manage its daily waste, which amounted to 2,700
The concept of garbage banks has been replicated from their success in Yogyakarta. Gemah Ripah Garbage Bank in Bantul regency of Yogyakarta was the pioneer in Indonesia. Visiting the Gemah Ripah garbage bank last week, the provincial public relations division and several reporters had the opportunity to learn about Yogyakarta’s success in encouraging community-based garbage management.
Gemah Ripah Garbage Bank started its operation in 2008 and now has 400 customers from Bantul regency. The bank’s management has been innovative and creative in producing various recycled products and has set up its own store to display them.
“I obtained the idea to build a garbage bank from Thailand. But the one in Thailand is managed differently. I saw that Thailand had good community-based garbage management and I tried to be more creative by establishing this garbage bank,” said Bambang Suwerda, the initiator of the Yogyakarta garbage bank.
“By managing our business as professionals, people will change their views about garbage from something dirty to something that has financial and artistic value,” Suwerda said.