Where Does the Plastic Go After I Recycle It?

Pak Dave In Bali

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SMAN 1 Semarapura’s Eco-Club members run a very successful recycling program at their school.  They recently asked me: Where does the plastic, paper and glass we recycle at our school travel to after it leaves our school?

To answer that question we put on our new Eco Club T-Shirts, hopped on a bus and traveled to Bali Recycling in Mas, about 30 minutes away.   Here we learned that 90% to 95% of the waste we send to them is recycled into products such as handbags, wallets, shoes, pallets, glasses, sweaters etc.  The remainder that can’t be recycled is sent to the Temesi Landfill where it is responsibly managed.

Olivier teaching us about what happens to what we recycle. Olivier teaching us about what happens to what we recycle.

Owner Olivier Poullion walked us through the whole process from when the material arrives at Bali Recycling through how he converts the garbage into pretty cool products.  He urged us to…

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Regreening Bali: One Bamboo at a Time

Pak Dave In Bali

Murni Plantiing Bamboo in Songam Village Murni Plantiing Bamboo in Songam Village

Many families in Songam Village B will get a lift out of poverty thanks to the efforts of Kadek Gunarta of the Bali Regreen project, and his team of skilled community organizers and agricultural experts.

 Bali Regreen will plant more than 4,000 bamboo shoots donated by the good people of John Hardy Silver in Songam Village B.  In seven years, the bamboo will grown into stalks wide enough to sale at the market.  This is a huge opportunity for the farmers here who scratch out a living from the dry soil.

Sonang Village B farmers Sonang Village B farmers

Even before seven years, farmers will reap benefits.  Village leaders estimated they purchase about $3,000 a year of bamboo for ceremonies and other uses which soon will be avoided costs.

This program is much more than planting bamboo.  It takes a whole village to keep this crop alive.  Bali…

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Klungkung Eco Clubbers Meet Bye Bye Plastic Bag Team

Pak Dave In Bali

bye bye

Eco Club leaders from SMA1 Dawan and SMA1 Semarapura traveled to Kuta today and were inspired by the Team from Bye Bye Plastic Bag, a group of middle school miracle workers whose goal is nothing less than banning plastic bags in Bali.

Bye Bye Plastic Bag and Klungkung Eco Clubbers Bye Bye Plastic Bag and Klungkung Eco Clubbers

Their strategy is just as audacious as their goal.  They are in the process of collecting ONE MILLION SIGNATURES on a petition to ban plastic bags in Bali.  If they can meet their goal, Bali Governor Made Mangku Pastika has agreed to impose the ban.  If you would like to sign their petition, please click here.

SMA1 Dawan Eco Club leaders SMA1 Dawan Eco Club leaders

Our Eco Club leaders and the Bye Bye Plastic Bag kids are planning to work together to solve the problem of plastic pollution in Bali.  Stand aside grown-ups.  Watching these kids in action, I have no doubt…

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Bali Eco Club’s Field Trip…Keeping Bali Beautiful

 

Eco Club Members from SMA1 Dawan (High School) at Temesi Recycling
Eco Club Members from SMA1 Dawan (High School) at Temesi Recycling

On a field trip last week to recycling centers and one of the island’s most eco-conscious businesses, 30 high-school kids from Dawan, their principal and teachers learned how their school’s recycling efforts fit into the larger picture of cleaning up plastic pollution to Keep Bali Beautiful.

And we had a lot of fun.

Eco Clubbers on the Bus
Eco Clubbers on the Bus

SMA1’s Eco Club just recently launched the school’s recycling program in partnership .  The Club members are responsible for doing the recycling itself, and educating the school community why we need to beat plastic pollution and Keep Bali Beautiful.  

Our first stop was Temesi Recycling which takes our plastic, glass and paper garbage.  They then sell the high value materials to recyclers in Bali and ship the lower value waste to Surabaya where it is recycled into new products.

At Temesi Recycling
At Temesi Recycling

 

 

 

Separating plastic from household garbage at Temesi
Separating plastic from household garbage at Temesi

At our next stop, the team at Bali Recycling showed us their very efficient operations, and then took us to visit an illegal dump in Gianyar Regency which has filled up a river with garbage.  The kids were outraged at this illegal and institutionalized practice which is polluting the river and the land.

Illegal dump in Gianyar Regency
Illegal dump in a riverbed, Gianyar Regency

Our final stop was in Ubud where Yoga Barn co-founder Kadek Gunarta told us the story of how his business uses environmentally-conscious practices.  He also described the success story of how his village and its families and businesses have launched a comprehensive system to reduce waste, conserve energy and water and recycle.  It ended the day on a very positive note.

Eco Club Partners with Kadek Gunarta at Yoga Barn, Ubud.
Eco Club Partners with Kadek Gunarta at Yoga Barn, Ubud.

We all still have a lot to learn about how to be Eco Clubbers. But we’re convinced this will be a great learning experience for all concerned.  In fact, today SMA1 conducted a village wide clean-up day where Eco Clubbers led the way in picking up and recycling plastic and other waste.

The SMA1 Negara Dawan recycling program is a partnership between the school and Ahimsa in Actions.  Our other key partners are Ahimsa In Action which funds the project, Temesi Recycling who takes our separated waste and Yoga Barn which contributed our program’s recycling stations and storage shed at cost.

If you would like to help grow our Keep Bali Beautiful program, please consider a donation to Ahimsa In Action.  Your donation is tax-deductible in the USA.  Go to http://www.AhimsaInAction.com  and click support at the top right of the home page.

Our Principal, Kawenuh and Pak Dave
Our Principal, Kawenuh and Pak Dave
Lunch at Yoga Barn
Lunch at Yoga Barn
Sorting the garbage at Temesi
Sorting the garbage at Temesi

 

Keeping Bali Beautiful

 Plastic pollution is a huge problem in Bali.  It seems that every river, every beach, every village, every temple, and every household is becoming blighted by discarded bottles, bags and other plastic rubbish.

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Our first step was to clean up our own act.

You must be the change you want to see in the world.”  -Gandhi

At our community we decided that enough was enough.  We researched whether there are credible plastic recyclers on the island, and there are, and we put together a deal with them to pick up our plastic garbage.

It took some time for our team  members to grasp the concept of recycling after a lifetime of simply throwing rubbish on the ground.  But after a couple of months they caught on and embraced it.

We knew there was a breakthrough when Kadek and Komang returned from a weekend trip to their village to tell us how much they hated the “plastic sampah,” littering their home, and what a shame it was that the villagers didn’t recycle.

We really knew we had made progress when Kawenuh talked his high school principal into starting a recycling program.  Kawenuh also took the lead in organizing an Eco Club at the school to operate the program and educate all of the students at the school.

SMA1 Eco Club
SMA1 Eco Club

We’ve now begun to expand our little recycling operation into more schools and hopefully our village of Pakse Bali. We’re hopeful of making progress, but our eyes are open to the many obstacles we will face….of which we will keep you posted.

If you’d like to help with our Bali Recycling Program, go to: Ahimsa In Action