As countries like Indonesia develop and are introduced to commercialism on a large scale, farmers and villagers now use consumer products to which they were previously unaccustomed. But, along with the conveniences of commercial food, drink, and personal care products comes the cumbersome plastics and packaging not associated with organic, agricultural products. Whereas banana leaves can be easily left on the side of the road to naturally compost and feed and nourish the soil, plastic bags and bottles create lasting eyesores and ultimately harm the environment.
To counter the influx of these new and less biodegradable types of trash waste, many cities in the developing world are encouraging residents, communities, and even students to pre-sort their recyclable waste and deposit it at ‘waste banks,’ in which depositors are awarded with savings accounts in return for their deposits of recyclable waste. In this way, the total amount of trash brought to landfills and waste dumps can be reduced over time, and more beneficial uses can be found for this otherwise unsightly trash. In a city like Jakarta, waste managers are hopeful that as much as 70% of waste delivered to landfills can be diverted through the efficient use of waste banks. As reported by the Jakarta Globe, 6500 tons of waste are generated daily in Greater Jakarta, most of which ends up at the Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, on the eastern side of the city.
Many of the waste banks in and around Jakarta are supported by the Unilever Indonesia Foundation and its “Unilever Green and Clean” initiative established in 2001. One innovative idea to emerge from this program is called “Trashion,” which encourages a unique fusion of trash and fashion for the development of new product designs. The 2010 Trashion Design Contest generated a wide variety of ideas, including a guitar bag, a tent for camping, and a chair. Women especially take advantage of the opportunities to become “waste entrepreneurs”.
The Japan Environmental Sanitation Center has covered the topic of waste banks in and around Padang, West Sumatra. JESC’s interest in Sumatran waste banks results from the participation of both Indonesian and Japanese cities in the 3R Conference for Asian Local Governments supported by the UN Centers for Regional Development. The principles of the 3R’s “Reduce, Re-use, and Recycle” also guide the Environmental Management Agency of Padang in promoting waste banks not only in the community but also through the school systems. When children learn the environmental and economic benefits of the best practices of waste management, they can also learn to become leaders of future community-based efforts. Current waste reduction rates of 3% per day in Padang alone are expected to increase to 14% by 2018.
Imagine never having to worry about your water supplies or the cost of heating and cooling buildings while complying with relevant government legislation and other state based energy efficiency schemes. Climate change concerns as a result of human activities are rapidly changing the way in which we all use and conserve our resources to sustain our economies and quality of life. Water and energy are top of most people’s mind when seeking real solutions to improve efficiencies in energy consumption as well as conservation water resources.
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John Ryan, vice president of operations of Oxygenade, fills a container of purified water in Pawcatuck. Oxygenade is part of AirWell H2O, which recently began operations in formerly vacant mill space in the town.
An independent company in Pawcatuck, Connecticut has recently begun water treatment operations to deliver potable water. The system uses a series of filters followed by an ozone treatment step, yielding drinking water from contaminated water without the use of chemicals. The filters remove large contaminants from the water supply, while the ozone treatment kills any remaining living organisms, including viruses. The company, AirWell H2O, is currently based in Southeast Connecticut, but may plan to expand operations elsewhere in Connecticut, with partnerships with resorts in the Caribbean and entities as far away as the government of Burundi, in the Great Lakes region of Eastern Africa. The owner, Roger Wood, also operates small units to extract drinking water from humid environments, which could turn out to be quite beneficial in climates like those in Southeast Asia and even South and Central America. AirWell’s technology infuses the resulting clean water with extra oxygen, prompting the formation Oxygenade, which plans to start bottling the water to sell as an oxygen-supplement for the purpose of human and even crop and soil health.
AirWell H2O and Oxygenade were recently profiled by local papers like the New London Day and the Hartford Courant, as well as the WFSB news team, which provides a short video introduction to AirWell’s technology and operations. News of the company in the small New England town even spread to the Associated Press, and to the Midwest, where it was picked up by The Republic, local paper of Columbus Indiana.
Video from WFSB 3 Connecticut
Click the image to view the video on this story from Reuters.
Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya, is home to 3 million inhabitants as well
as a phenomenally successful composting program. This program was launched ten
years ago to combat an ever increasing amount of organic waste produced in the
city. Not only has it reduced the city’s organic waste by 30%, it has also created an
environmentally sustainable and natural fertilizer for the city’s many parks. The
money saved by this program has allowed the city to employ local people with a
number of jobs in the many composting facilities, providing them with not only an
income – but also a sense of pride in what they are doing for their city and their
environment. Hopefully Surabaya’s success will provide not only the rest of
Indonesia with a model of urban sustainability, but also other nations who can
look to this city as a system to emulate.
Business enterprises in Indonesia have traditional been dominated by sectors including mining and agriculture, due to the abundance of natural resources throughout the country. However, recent announcements by government ministers, including the Minister of Research and Technology, Dr. Gusti Muhammad Hatta, suggest that Indonesia may soon be headed in a new direction: encouraging small business growth.
Read the recent article in Forbes Magazine
Palm plantation in Indonesia
Indonesia’s economic development continues to move forward and progress with new rules and regulations regarding the acquisition of stakes in Indonesian banks by both foreign and domestic investors. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal documents several of the changes that will take effect at the end of July.
Image: The towers of Bank Indonesia over the Arjuna Wijaya chariot statue in Jakarta