Great news for the planet! And for Jogja, Jakarta. We had a magical moment with the women from Lintas Winongo Badran Jogja Bank Sampah that will have far reaching consequences for the burning and dumping of plastic in the city.
We arrived in Badran on a loosely arranged invitation. We thought would be doing a 15 minute presentation to some strangers at their monthly meeting. Instead, we worked for two hours with 20 ultra-keen and passionate folks to make their first ecobricks. And become friends!
In Indonesia, every community has a “Bank Sampah” or “Trash Bank”. These are community groups where folks can bring their plastic, have it weighed and bought for a small amount that can be banked or credited. The system works pretty well, but definitely has some short comings: like what to actually do with the virtually unrecycleable stuff (cellophane bags, clear plastic, styrofoam, etc.)
These women who are on the front line of recycling know full well the deep fallacy of the Recycling Industry– in the end plastic is simply no longer recyclable. The women and bank sampah leaders have to deal with all this dead-end plastic. They had read our Ecobrick story in the newspaper the other day and had actually decided to focus their monthly meeting on… doing ecobricks!
And then, low and behold… we show up to share Ecobricks!
In the words of leader Cicik it was “Destiny”. They not only had all the plastic and bottles on hand to ecobricks, but they had invited the regional and government coordinators for all the Bank Sampahs in Jogja to attend. The government official arrived late in my presentation and I was a little disconcerted by her silence. But after an hour of chit chatting and ecobricking, she gave an impassioned speech to encourage everyone to continue. Here at last is not only a solution for all those un-recycleable plastics, but something that we can all make that itself is re-useable (ecobricks can be reused over and over again in constructions).
Not only will these women be enthusiastically ecobricking in the next month, but they will be sharing it with ALL the other Bank Sampahs in Jogja through their network. Within the next few months hundreds of Bank Sampah will be ecobricking. Within the year thousands of people will be ecobricking and there will be a clear alternative to burning and dumping here in Jogja.