Mohamad Bijaksana Junerosano (Sano) is the founder and Managing Director of Waste4Change, a social-enterprise focused on responsible waste management in Indonesia.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
My idealism on waste management was formed when I was about to graduate high school and saw a news report about the waste problem on TV. All of a sudden, I knew what my calling was. I then decided to major in environmental engineering in college. After graduating, I have been promoting an environmentally friendly lifestyle through Greeneration Indonesia (GI), the first business my friends and I established in 2008. And because I believe that waste management needs more concrete solutions to create better impact, I established Waste4Change in 2014.
How is plastic waste an issue for oceans/waterways in Indonesia?
Plastic is very easy to find in daily life in Indonesia. It’s in coffee cups, shopping bags, snack packaging, bottled water. It’s everywhere. Every day, Indonesia generates 175,000 tons of waste and about 14% or 24,500 tons a day of plastics. Unfortunately, currently 81% of waste in Indonesia is unsorted; making it difficult to recycle, causing plastic waste to end up in landfills or leak into the ocean instead. As plastic takes hundreds of years to degrade, plastics in landfills and oceans will continue to pollute for several generations.
According to the World Bank’s Indonesia Marine Debris Hotspots Rapid Assessment, 20% of plastic waste in Indonesia is believed to end up in rivers and coastal waters. Every 20 minutes, the equivalent of a 10-ton truckload of plastic is dumped into the waters around Indonesia. And a recent study in 2015 stated that Indonesia is the world’s second-largest contributor to plastic pollutants in the oceans. Looking at this fact, plastic waste is a very serious issue to Indonesia’s environment. We have to prevent and manage it better as soon as possible.
When did you first get involved in trying to address this issue?
Through Greeneration Indonesia, in 2008 we created baGoes bag – a foldable reusable shopping bag – as part of #DietKantongPlastik, our campaign to reduce the use of plastic bags. Plastic bags contribute quite a lot to Indonesia’s waste, as our research in 2009 indicated that on average Indonesians consume 700 plastic bags, per person, each year.
Through Waste4Change, we are committed to making changes to the conventional collect-transport-dump waste management scheme. Waste4Change came up with a solution of sorted waste collection service to ensure recyclable waste such as plastic bottles or plastic cups are utilized, instead of being mixed and dumped into landfills or leak into the ocean.
What do you hope your work can achieve?
The idea of Waste4Change is to create a service provider to solve waste management problems in Indonesia. By implementing the circular economy and zero waste concept in our waste management business, we hope we can achieve a cleaner Indonesia.