Khiri Reach: Community Based Trash Solutions Worth Millions at ICST

November 14, 2017 by | Filed Under: Indonesia, Regional News, Responsible Tourism, Sustainability

Gili Back, Khiri Travel’s sustainability manager was recently a guest at The Indonesian Ministry of Tourism’s International Conference on Sustainable Tourism (ICST), held in Yogyakarta.

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The International Conference on Sustainable Tourism (ICST), held in Yogyakarta from October 31st to November 1st, was an event full of presentations, talks and panel discussions with guests and presenters from around the globe covering many important aspects and developments, with a focus on innovative, responsible and sustainable tourism, based on UNWTO’s 17 Goals (SDGs).

Some of the honorable speakers and guests included UNWTO Director for Sustainable Development of Tourism Mr. Dirk Glaesser; Professor Christopher Paul Cooper Ph.D. of Oxford Brookes University (UK); the former Indonesian Minister of Tourism Professor Mari Elka Pangestu, now president of United in Diversity; CEO of Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) Mr. Randy Durband and Indonesia’s current Minister of Tourism Mr. Arief Yahya.

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At the end of the two day event the 3rd UID UN SDSN Sustainable Solutions for a Better World Award was presented and won by Bintang Sejahtera Waste for their community based waste management system. It is the first time any such initiative dealing with the serious waste issues in Indonesia has been recognized and awarded with such a highly esteemed prize.

The Bank Sampah (trash bank) program was created by Bintang Sejahtera. An island boy brought up in a poor province, his parent’s income came from collecting discarded plastic waste.  When he realized the urgent need to deal with the ever-growing problem of plastic trash across Indonesia’s coastlines and water ways, Bintang formed a community managed business system which turns ‘trash into cash.’

A chain of ‘waste banks,’ was established by Bintang, which not only provided work for families in areas where unemployment is a major issue, but also encouraged and empowered the local community. By actively being part of the solution and participating in the clean-up process they were taught how to make a living as well as help save their local environment.

Astonishing effects soon followed as the waste management system currently processes 28 tons of inorganic waste and 25 tons of organic waste every month! In addition, awareness-building activities, trainings, and business coaching account for more than half of the company’s profits. With the winnings, Bintang plans to expand from 50 communities to 500.

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The initiative of the Sustainable Development Solutions (SDSN) Southeast Asia network hosted by United in Diversity (UID) is an award program designed to recognize, encourage, and support the best viable development solutions in Indonesia. It endorses multi-sectoral solutions covering critical environmental and public challenges, while ensuring that the employed business model provides financial stability and long-term maintainability in local communities.  As the winner, Bintang received Rp 300 million (US$25,000) through the generous support of the Gajah Tunggal Group. He and the two other finalists will also receive mentoring support from UID’s IDEAS alumni. The other finalists, selected from more than 80 programs, were:

  • Krakakoa Chocolate works on improving the lives and incomes of smallholder cocoa farmers. Not only refining the quality of cocoa produced by the local supply chain through rigorous training, but also developing the proper fermentation techniques needed to produce high quality beans suitable for making award-winning chocolate in Indonesia. Additionally, educating the farmers about fungus and natural pest control techniques, hence cutting out the use of all chemicals or insecticides. Krakakoa Chocolate aims to distribute value to the local market in Indonesia, which is the third-largest producer of cocoa beans in the world, versus exporting to international processors and distributors.
  • Mothers of Light empowers local women to start their own businesses bringing solar lights to remote Indonesian villages. Millions of Indonesians live without electricity and by helping them gain access to renewable or distributed energy sources, it means the difference between a 10-hour and 18-hour day. The company’s consignment-based ‘business in a bag’ model is used to build and then distribute the solar lamps across Indonesia’s remote villages, as these communities wait for years to access the national grid.

This amazing outcome just goes to prove that one nation’s trash is really another man’s treasure!

You can keep tracking and be a part of more sustainable projects by visit Khiri Reach official website or contact Gili, our Khiri Travel Sustainability Manager & Executive Director Khiri Reach.