Plastic sachets, crackle bags, instant noodle wrappers are a number of examples of household waste that ends up in landfills. Tons of waste is collected without being processed, because it is considered to have no economic value.
The Wise Garbage Community in Yogyakarta is trying to find a way out of this problem, by making waste worthless as a raw material for making building materials. They at the same time mobilize the village community, to solve the waste problem from the start, with economic benefits as an attraction. The movement was named the Village Wise Garbage.
“We took the initiative to create a Wise Garbage Village. We can solve the waste problem, only in the village. Our mission, there is no Temporary Waste Shelter, no Final Disposal Site, because everything is finished in their respective villages, “said the coordinator of the Wise Garbage Village, Megan Dwi Pramudia.
The Wise Garbage Community tries to solve the problem in a more realistic target. For this reason, this movement is based in the village, not at the provincial or district level.
“With minimal costs, but high effectiveness. We want clean (clean -ed), beautiful, but alive. We get the most possible, effective, efficient, and everyone can do it. Finally, we set this Pleret Village as pilot project,” added Megan.
The Wise Waste Community and the concept of waste management are one of the winners of the competition organized by the Pertamina Foundation regarding efforts to overcome social problems. Society is mobilized to collect plastic waste that has no economic value, and turn it into a high-value product, called Infinity Stone. The forms are various building materials, such as cone block, paving blockbricks, road dividers, railroad sleepers to breakwaters.
Tri Setyawati from the Wise Garbage Community said the techniques used in processing plastic waste into various types of building materials are very environmentally friendly. There is no burning or melting of plastics. The technology has been patented, while the engine and its products have not.
“This can be developed on an industrial scale, a minimum of 300 kilos of plastic waste is needed per day. If it is converted, it is more or less the same as residual plastic waste from five sub-districts. This is the type of waste that no one wants to collect, because the value is too low,” said Tri.
The Wise Garbage Community encourages residents to sort their waste at the household level. So far, waste with economic value, such as paper, cardboard, bottles and others, has been managed independently and sold because it has economic value. Meanwhile, the Wise Garbage Community takes on a role by processing the remaining waste, or plastic waste residue. Waste banks in every village are invited to work together in this scheme.
“The process, what distinguishes our technology is no combustion, no melting and no cement. We use plastic waste and sand. We have tested the product as a result of this development in the PUPR R&D laboratory in Bandung, the result is that the quality is above the quality of the product made of cement,” added Tri.
The process starts with chopping the plastic into small pieces, mixing it with sand and printing. Once finished, this product is immediately ready to use, unlike cement-based products that require drying.
“Any sand can be used. In essence, we take advantage of products that are easily available around us. We can make any product, depending on the mold. Our machines are developed by ourselves, adapting to the technology we have developed,” he added.
The product is also environmentally friendly because it has pores. Paving block which is installed as a pavers, is able to absorb rainwater better than cement-based products.
Treating Garbage As Culture
The caretaker of the Wise Garbage Village in Pleret, Bantul, Yogyakarta Special Region, Nur Subiyantoro, wants the community’s waste management movement to become a culture.
“So far, our culture regarding waste has only been limited to throwing garbage in its place, that’s just not finished. Let’s see, in tourist attractions, for example, organic and non-organic ones are still mixed,” said Nur Subiyantoro.
By having one small machine in each village, it takes at least 15 kilograms of leftover waste, such as plastic bags, shampoo wrappers, detergent packs, and packaged snacks.
“When you practice, you will be motivated to look for 15 kilograms of plastic waste a day, to make this building material, so they will move on their own, because there is a stimulant in the form of opinions from production profits,” he continued.
Nur Subiyantoro who is also the Deputy Chair of the Bantul Regency DPRD admits that the waste problem cannot be solved by one party, but requires the role of all elements of society. In addition, waste cannot be handled simply by regulation. An integrated scheme, such as the one implemented in the Kampung Wise Garbage program, is considered appropriate because it resolves the remaining waste. In addition, machines for producing plastic building materials provide benefits for the community, and make them motivated.
“The existence of this machine will be a guide and a solution to the waste problem in their area, but also provide economic value to the collected waste,” added the Gerindra politician.
The Head of the Bantul Regency Environmental Service, Ari Budi Nugroho, welcomed the effort. Moreover, the addition of a solution with the existence of a production machine that processes community waste.
“The potential for waste in Bantul Regency every day reaches 300 tons. This is a problem, because out of 75 villages, only 24 villages have independent waste management businesses,” said Ari.
The Waste Wise Village will continue to move, making every village able to process garbage, and reap abundant economic benefits. [ns/ah]