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Indonesia Cracks Down on the Scourge of Imported Plastic Waste

When China banned plastic waste imports in 2018, exporters in wealthy countries targeted other developing nations. Faced with an unending stream of unrecyclable waste, Indonesia has tightened its regulations and has begun to make progress in stemming the plastics flow.

BY BETH GARDINER • AUGUST 1, 2023

In 2019, at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, delegates from 187 countries approved the first-ever global rules on cross-border shipments of plastic waste. No longer could countries export contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastics without the recipient country’s informed consent. It was a landmark step aimed at reducing the flood of wealthy nations’ scrap that had been deluging poorer regions, particularly Southeast Asia, since China closed its doors to such imports the previous year.

Hopes were high that the agreement — enacted as a set of amendments to the Basel Convention, which sets rules for developed nations sending hazardous waste to less-developed ones — would help control abuses in the trade of discarded plastic, which was often ending up strewn in fields, clogging rivers, or burned in open heaps. In the two and a half years since the amendments came into force in 2021, though, the reality has largely failed to live up to that ambition.

But some countries on the receiving end of the developed world’s waste exports are acting on their own. Indonesia, like its neighbors Thailand and Malaysia, was hit by a tidal wave of foreign trash after China — long the top destination for rich nations’ discarded plastic — stopped accepting it, and exporters in North America, Europe, Australia, Japan, and South Korea scrambled to dispose of mountains of waste that quickly accumulated.

Experts agree that Indonesia’s toughened stance has significantly reduced the volume of tainted waste arriving there.

Pressured by outrage at home and abroad over images of that plastic piled in villages and swirling through waterways, Indonesia cracked down on dirty, unsorted imports, tightening its regulations and stepping up enforcement. But its experience offers a mixed picture of halting progress and continued challenges, vividly illustrating the complexities of trying to stem a global tide of plastic waste that grows larger every year.

The plastic that has long been shipped around the world is ostensibly intended for recycling. To be sure, some of that material is ultimately converted into new goods. But it became apparent after China’s closure that much of what was being stuffed into shipping containers in the United States, Europe, and the rest of the developed world was badly contaminated with trash, such as used diapers, or contained high percentages of unrecyclable types of plastic.

 

Today, Indonesia allows only well-sorted scrap imports and bars batches whose impurities — any material other than the main one being shipped — exceed 2 percent of the total volume. Every container headed its way must be inspected before shipping. Exporters have to register with the Indonesian embassy in their country, an effort to introduce transparency into a trade rife with fly-by-night operators whose frequent name changes have long made it hard to know who was responsible for contaminated shipments, said Yuyun Ismawati, co-founder of the Nexus3 Foundation, a Jakarta-based research and advocacy group.

Environmentalists and experts agree that this toughened stance has succeeded in significantly reducing the volume of tainted waste arriving in Indonesia. Many fields covered with foreign plastic a few years ago are significantly less tainted now. While the change is hard to quantify — and at some dumpsites, imported plastic has simply been replaced by domestic trash — activists who monitor such sites say the improvement is undeniable.

Indonesian industries want easy-to-recycle plastics — particularly PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, commonly used in beverage bottles. Such material isn’t waste, said Novrizal Tahar, director of solid waste management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. “This is raw material.” Manufacturers — making new bottles, or consumer goods such as buckets and crates — rely on imports because Indonesia’s lack of formal trash-sorting systems means domestic supplies are inadequate, said Arisman, executive director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Jakarta, who like many Indonesians has only one name.

But recycling plastics, even those easiest to process, is problematic: it can concentrate dangerous chemicals such as benzene and brominated dioxins at higher levels, and the resulting material is typically of lower quality than the original. Recycling also releases microplastics into the air and water, and in poor countries unable to strictly enforce labor and environmental protections, it can expose workers to hazardous toxins. Outsourcing those risks to nations like Indonesia, in Ismawati’s view, “is a new type of colonialism.”

Tumult in the global waste trade has led to increasing amounts of plastic sorted for recycling simply being incinerated.

While Indonesia has begun to get a grip on its imports, the scrap trade’s opaque global web is an ever-shifting cat-and-mouse game. When one country erects barriers, those with material to get rid of often just find someplace else to send it. The U.S., for example, ships less plastic waste to Southeast Asia than it did even a year ago, but it sends more to Mexico and India. European nations that previously shipped to Thailand now favor Turkey, data show.

The trade’s tumult has also led to increasing amounts of the plastic that North Americans and Europeans sort for recycling simply being incinerated close to home. The Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based advocacy group that monitors waste shipments and advocates for tighter restrictions, has been putting GPS trackers into U.S. recycling bins and has found that some of it ends up in domestic landfills.

In Indonesia, while the reduction in problematic imports is real, the limitations of progress are visible about 50 miles outside the capital, Jakarta, where a giant mountain of plastic towers above red rooftops, emerald-green rice fields, and groves of banana trees. The plastic stretches as far as 10 football fields, at least, and it’s piled so high it takes a few minutes to climb from the narrow, rutted road at the mound’s base to its top. The plastic is clean and odorless, and it feels spongy underfoot. Much is shredded, but there are legible labels – Trader Joe’s roasted chicken breast, salt-and-vinegar peanuts from New Zealand, bottle caps with Korean writing, wrapping from an Italian children’s audiobook.

The scrap mountain in the city of Serang, near the northwestern coast of Indonesia’s most populous island, Java, sits outside a factory owned by Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Products, one of the nation’s largest paper companies. Mills like this commonly import used paper for recycling, and plastic is sometimes mixed in with shipments.

Indah Kiat adds to the heap every day. Among the informal workers who bring scavenged material to a plastic-sorting business across the street from the pile is Kasih, a woman with big, dark eyes and dirty, bare feet, who climbs the plastic mountain every day after her morning job, selling bananas. Carrying what they find in big white sacks — bottles and fragments of wire are most valuable — she and her husband together earn between $2 and $4.50 from seven hours’ work. “It’s very exhausting” and sometimes leaves her struggling for breath, Kasih said. At the sorting lot, other workers set the plastic in the sun to dry, then bale it up for sale to larger middlemen or to manufacturers of low-grade products like twine.

Letchumi Achanah, head of strategic engagement and advocacy at Asia Pulp & Paper, Indah Kiat’s parent company, acknowledged the plastic arrived with the company’s imports. She said the factory complied with all regulations and now burns unwanted plastic as fuel — a use embraced by Indonesia’s government but assailed by environmentalists as a source of both toxic pollution and climate-warming gases.

Kasih, who collects plastic from the waste pile next to Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, and her husband. BETH GARDINER

Even if the 2 percent limit on impurities is met — environmentalists say contamination, while much reduced, often exceeds that cap — the small fraction can add up to a great deal of waste plastic. Industry insists shipments do meet the limit. Exporters “have to prove by opening [each] bale of recycled paper” that a shipment complies before they can send it to Indonesia, said Liana Bratasida, executive director of the Indonesian Pulp & Paper Association.

But in a nation still struggling to shed its history of corruption, enforcement remains a challenge. During the peak plastic smuggling years, around 2019, bribery of customs officers eased the entry of illicit shipments, Arisman said. Poorly sorted waste imports were always illegal, but some frontline officers “only care about their pocket money,” he said, so “on the ground, sometimes, it’s a negotiation.” The customs directorate cracked down on such corruption, but its stricter stance can ebb and flow, he added.

Critics claim that government efforts have sometimes been more show than substance. In 2019, officials ordered some tainted shipments sent back to their port or origin. But the Indonesian word officials used in publicly touting the orders actually meant “re-export,” and the rejected waste often went to other developing countries, Ismawati said. The announcements were just “bragging,” she said, and the containers were “not returned to sender.”

While the very existence of the Basel Convention’s plastic amendments is an achievement, providing a cudgel for pushing signatories to do better, implementation has been disappointing, advocates say. The amendments’ potential was limited from the start by the absence of the U.S., the world’s biggest generator of plastic waste, which signed the convention in 1990 but never ratified it. And many of the countries that do participate have failed to adequately enforce the new rules, Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network, said.

Shipping waste in any form is about pushing the costs of dealing with it onto someone else.

Many are also punching loopholes into the agreement, sometimes by misapplying a provision that allows trade outside the convention’s authority if it is covered by agreements of equal environmental stringency, he said. The most egregious abuse is by the U.S., which as a non-party should not ship unsorted waste to participants but has inked improper deals with Canada and Mexico, he said.

Rich nations “are finding ways to wiggle out from under the agreement,” and the poorer ones “are just going, ‘Well, we’re not going to bother,’” Puckett said. With no enforcement mechanism, “if countries are not able to be shamed into doing the right thing, the whole thing can just unravel.”

Shipping waste in any form is about pushing the costs of dealing with it onto someone else. Exporters gain from off-loading the expense of treating waste, and importers gain by cherry-picking profitable material and dumping the rest, he said.

Anti-waste advocates point to another flaw in the Basel convention: it fails to regulate plastic that has been processed into pellets or other forms meant to be burned as fuel in industrial facilities like cement kilns and power plants. Indonesia is embracing such uses for its own plastic waste, said Tahar, the government official, who considers it harmless as long as emissions are treated to remove toxins.

Australia, which promised to much fanfare in 2020 that it would stop exporting plastic waste, is among those now eager to turn its waste into fuel pellets, then ship them to countries such as Indonesia.

But further change is on the horizon. In January, the European Parliament proposed requiring countries receiving European recyclables to demonstrate, through independent audits, that they can manage them sustainably and would gradually ban the export of plastic waste entirely. The European Parliament and European Commission are negotiating the specifics of the final measure.

In Indonesia, importers worry the rules will be onerous. Lannawati Hendra, a vice president at PT. Surabaya Mekabox, a paper and cardboard company, said the country’s own inspection requirements had already added about 5 percent to the cost of their products. The pending E.U. measure, she warned, will likely make it harder to import wastepaper.

Still, others see signs of hope. Ismawati pointed to new plastics recycling plants in Britain as an encouraging development. If wealthy countries really believe in recycling, she argued, they ought to do it at home, not export the process’s burden and risks. “How come it’s our problem?” she asked. “It’s your mess. You should be able to help yourself.”

Indonesia to World: Stop Dumping Your Plastic on Us

This story was originally published by Yale E360 and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

In 2019, at a meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, delegates from 187 countries approved the first-ever global rules on cross-border shipments of plastic waste. No longer could countries export contaminated, mixed, or unrecyclable plastics without the recipient country’s informed consent. It was a landmark step aimed at reducing the flood of wealthy nations’ scrap that had been deluging poorer regions, particularly Southeast Asia, since China closed its doors to such imports the previous year.

Hopes were high that the agreement — enacted as a set of amendments to the Basel Convention, which sets rules for developed nations sending hazardous waste to less-developed ones—would help control abuses in the trade of discarded plastic, which was often ending up strewn in fields, clogging rivers, or burned in open heaps. In the two and a half years since the amendments came into force in 2021, though, the reality has largely failed to live up to that ambition.

But some countries on the receiving end of the developed world’s waste exports are acting on their own. Indonesia, like its neighbors Thailand and Malaysia, was hit by a tidal wave of foreign trash after China—long the top destination for rich nations’ discarded plastic—stopped accepting it, and exporters in North America, Europe, Australia, Japan, and South Korea scrambled to dispose of mountains of waste that quickly accumulated.

Pressured by outrage at home and abroad over images of that plastic piled in villages and swirling through waterways, Indonesia cracked down on dirty, unsorted imports, tightening its regulations and stepping up enforcement. But its experience offers a mixed picture of halting progress and continued challenges, vividly illustrating the complexities of trying to stem a global tide of plastic waste that grows larger every year.

The plastic that has long been shipped around the world is ostensibly intended for recycling. To be sure, some of that material is ultimately converted into new goods. But it became apparent after China’s closure that much of what was being stuffed into shipping containers in the United States, Europe, and the rest of the developed world was badly contaminated with trash, such as used diapers, or contained high percentages of unrecyclable types of plastic.

Today, Indonesia allows only well-sorted scrap imports and bars batches whose impurities—any material other than the main one being shipped—exceed 2 percent of the total volume. Every container headed its way must be inspected before shipping. Exporters have to register with the Indonesian embassy in their country, an effort to introduce transparency into a trade rife with fly-by-night operators whose frequent name changes have long made it hard to know who was responsible for contaminated shipments, said Yuyun Ismawati, co-founder of the Nexus3 Foundation, a Jakarta-based research and advocacy group.

Environmentalists and experts agree that this toughened stance has succeeded in significantly reducing the volume of tainted waste arriving in Indonesia. Many fields covered with foreign plastic a few years ago are significantly less tainted now. While the change is hard to quantify—and at some dumpsites, imported plastic has simply been replaced by domestic trash—activists who monitor such sites say the improvement is undeniable.

Indonesian industries want easy-to-recycle plastics—particularly PET, or polyethylene terephthalate, commonly used in beverage bottles. Such material isn’t waste, said Novrizal Tahar, director of solid waste management at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. “This is raw material.” Manufacturers—making new bottles, or consumer goods such as buckets and crates—rely on imports because Indonesia’s lack of formal trash-sorting systems means domestic supplies are inadequate, said Arisman, executive director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies in Jakarta, who like many Indonesians has only one name.

But recycling plastics, even those easiest to process, is problematic: it can concentrate dangerous chemicals such as benzene and brominated dioxins at higher levels, and the resulting material is typically of lower quality than the original. Recycling also releases microplastics into the air and water, and in poor countries unable to strictly enforce labor and environmental protections, it can expose workers to hazardous toxins. Outsourcing those risks to nations like Indonesia, in Ismawati’s view, “is a new type of colonialism.”

While Indonesia has begun to get a grip on its imports, the scrap trade’s opaque global web is an ever-shifting cat-and-mouse game. When one country erects barriers, those with material to get rid of often just find someplace else to send it. The US, for example, ships less plastic waste to Southeast Asia than it did even a year ago, but it sends more to Mexico and India. European nations that previously shipped to Thailand now favor Turkey, data show.

The trade’s tumult has also led to increasing amounts of the plastic that North Americans and Europeans sort for recycling simply being incinerated close to home. The Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based advocacy group that monitors waste shipments and advocates for tighter restrictions, has been putting GPS trackers into US recycling bins and has found that some of it ends up in domestic landfills.

In Indonesia, while the reduction in problematic imports is real, the limitations of progress are visible about 50 miles outside the capital, Jakarta, where a giant mountain of plastic towers above red rooftops, emerald-green rice fields, and groves of banana trees. The plastic stretches as far as 10 football fields, at least, and it’s piled so high it takes a few minutes to climb from the narrow, rutted road at the mound’s base to its top. The plastic is clean and odorless, and it feels spongy underfoot. Much is shredded, but there are legible labels—Trader Joe’s roasted chicken breast, salt-and-vinegar peanuts from New Zealand, bottle caps with Korean writing, wrapping from an Italian children’s audiobook.

A massive plastic dump next to Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Products in Serang, Indonesia. 

Beth Gardiner

The scrap mountain in the city of Serang, near the northwestern coast of Indonesia’s most populous island, Java, sits outside a factory owned by Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Products, one of the nation’s largest paper companies. Mills like this commonly import used paper for recycling, and plastic is sometimes mixed in with shipments.

Indah Kiat adds to the heap every day. Among the informal workers who bring scavenged material to a plastic-sorting business across the street from the pile is Kasih, a woman with big, dark eyes and dirty, bare feet, who climbs the plastic mountain every day after her morning job, selling bananas. Carrying what they find in big white sacks—bottles and fragments of wire are most valuable—she and her husband together earn between $2 and $4.50 from seven hours’ work. “It’s very exhausting” and sometimes leaves her struggling for breath, Kasih said. At the sorting lot, other workers set the plastic in the sun to dry, then bale it up for sale to larger middlemen or to manufacturers of low-grade products like twine.

Letchumi Achanah, head of strategic engagement and advocacy at Asia Pulp & Paper, Indah Kiat’s parent company, acknowledged the plastic arrived with the company’s imports. She said the factory complied with all regulations and now burns unwanted plastic as fuel—a use embraced by Indonesia’s government but assailed by environmentalists as a source of both toxic pollution and climate-warming gases.

Kasih, who collects plastic from the waste pile next to Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper, and her husband. 

Beth Gardiner

Even if the 2 percent limit on impurities is met—environmentalists say contamination, while much reduced, often exceeds that cap—the small fraction can add up to a great deal of waste plastic. Industry insists shipments do meet the limit. Exporters “have to prove by opening [each] bale of recycled paper” that a shipment complies before they can send it to Indonesia, said Liana Bratasida, executive director of the Indonesian Pulp & Paper Association.

But in a nation still struggling to shed its history of corruption, enforcement remains a challenge. During the peak plastic smuggling years, around 2019, bribery of customs officers eased the entry of illicit shipments, Arisman said. Poorly sorted waste imports were always illegal, but some frontline officers “only care about their pocket money,” he said, so “on the ground, sometimes, it’s a negotiation.” The customs directorate cracked down on such corruption, but its stricter stance can ebb and flow, he added.

Critics claim that government efforts have sometimes been more show than substance. In 2019, officials ordered some tainted shipments sent back to their port or origin. But the Indonesian word officials used in publicly touting the orders actually meant “re-export,” and the rejected waste often went to other developing countries, Ismawati said. The announcements were just “bragging,” she said, and the containers were “not returned to sender.”

While the very existence of the Basel Convention’s plastic amendments is an achievement, providing a cudgel for pushing signatories to do better, implementation has been disappointing, advocates say. The amendments’ potential was limited from the start by the absence of the US, the world’s biggest generator of plastic waste, which signed the convention in 1990 but never ratified it. And many of the countries that do participate have failed to adequately enforce the new rules, Jim Puckett, executive director of the Basel Action Network, said.

Many are also punching loopholes into the agreement, sometimes by misapplying a provision that allows trade outside the convention’s authority if it is covered by agreements of equal environmental stringency, he said. The most egregious abuse is by the US, which as a non-party should not ship unsorted waste to participants but has inked improper deals with Canada and Mexico, he said.

Rich nations “are finding ways to wiggle out from under the agreement,” and the poorer ones “are just going, ‘Well, we’re not going to bother,’” Puckett said. With no enforcement mechanism, “if countries are not able to be shamed into doing the right thing, the whole thing can just unravel.”

Shipping waste in any form is about pushing the costs of dealing with it onto someone else. Exporters gain from off-loading the expense of treating waste, and importers gain by cherry-picking profitable material and dumping the rest, he said.

Anti-waste advocates point to another flaw in the Basel convention: It fails to regulate plastic that has been processed into pellets or other forms meant to be burned as fuel in industrial facilities like cement kilns and power plants. Indonesia is embracing such uses for its own plastic waste, said Tahar, the government official, who considers it harmless as long as emissions are treated to remove toxins.

Australia, which promised to much fanfare in 2020 that it would stop exporting plastic waste, is among those now eager to turn its waste into fuel pellets, then ship them to countries such as Indonesia.

But further change is on the horizon. In January, the European Parliament proposed requiring countries receiving European recyclables to demonstrate, through independent audits, that they can manage them sustainably and would gradually ban the export of plastic waste entirely. The European Parliament and European Commission are negotiating the specifics of the final measure.

In Indonesia, importers worry the rules will be onerous. Lannawati Hendra, a vice president at PT. Surabaya Mekabox, a paper and cardboard company, said the country’s own inspection requirements had already added about 5 percent to the cost of their products. The pending EU measure, she warned, will likely make it harder to import wastepaper.

Still, others see signs of hope. Ismawati pointed to new plastics recycling plants in Britain as an encouraging development. If wealthy countries really believe in recycling, she argued, they ought to do it at home, not export the process’s burden and risks. “How come it’s our problem?” she asked. “It’s your mess. You should be able to help yourself.”

CSEAS dan TETO Bahas Isu Penting Sebagai Kelanjutan KTT ASEAN 2023

JAKARTA, investor.id – Lembaga pemikir Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) Indonesia, bekerja sama dengan Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia (TETO), mengadakan seminar internasional untuk membahas isu-isu penting di ASEAN pasca KTT ASEAN 2023 yang dipimpin oleh Indonesia.

“Dunia politik sebenarnya memiliki banyak wajah. Hanya saja imajinasi kita tentang politik beberapa tahun ini mungkin buruk, sehingga kita hanya membayangkan perang dagang dan perang militer saat berdiskusi. Saatnya imajinasi kita diperkaya kembali. Bukan hanya ASEAN yang memerlukan imajinasi seperti ini, tetapi semua negara memerlukannya,” kata Penasihat Senior CSEAS Dr. Dipo Alam dalam keterangan resmi, Senin (23/10).

Dalam sambutan pembuka, Wakil Representative TETO Mr. Steve Chen menyoroti hubungan erat ASEAN-Taiwan, termasuk fakta bahwa Taiwan merupakan rumah bagi sekitar satu juta warga negara ASEAN dan 400.000 di antaranya adalah warga negara Indonesia.

“Fokus dunia saat ini sangat tertuju pada masalah keamanan global dan ketegangan geopolitik, seperti perang di Ukraina, konflik di Timur Tengah, dan ketegangan di Selat Taiwan,” papar Chen dalam acara yang berlangsung dalam format hybrid di Hotel Grand Sahid Jaya, Jakarta pada 23 Oktober 2023 ini.

Di antara isu-isu yang dibahas, Wakil Rerpresentative Chen menekankan Taiwan terus-menerus menghadapi ancaman keamanan selama lebih dari 70 tahun. Kerja sama yang erat dengan negara-negara sepemikiran telah menjadikan Taiwan tangguh seperti sekarang ini, kata dia.

Seminar ini terdiri dari tiga sesi dengan topik mengenai ASEAN dan kawasan. Antara lain bahasan integrasi ekonomi regional di ASEAN, hubungan masa depan antara ASEAN dan Taiwan, serta tantangan keamanan regional di ASEAN.

Tujuan dari seminar ini adalah agar para peserta dapat berdiskusi dan bertukar pikiran untuk menemukan solusi yang layak terhadap tantangan-tantangan bersama di ASEAN dan Kawasan, katanya.

Diskusi ini diikutip oleh sekitar 80 peserta yang berasal dari kedutaan dan kantor perwakilan misi luar negeri di Jakarta, pemerintah Indonesia, LSM, universitas, hingga media. Pembicara dan moderator dalam seminar ini merupakan para pakar dari berbagai institusi ternama dunia di Indonesia, Taiwan, Australia, dan Singapura.

APEKSI sebut perlu advokasi peraturan pemerintah atur sampah

Kota Bogor (ANTARA) – Ketua Dewan Pengurus Asosiasi Pemerintah Kota Seluruh Indonesia (Apeksi) sekaligus Wali Kota Bogor, Jawa Barat Bima Arya memandang perlu ada advokasi terkait peraturan pemerintah dalam mengatur lebih sistematik permasalahan pengelolaan sampah dari daerah hingga pusat.

Bima Arya dalam keterangan tertulisnya di Bogor, Rabu, mengatakan pendekatan soal persampahan belum komprehensif, totalitas, sistemik dan masif.

“Kita lihat saat ini Perpres (Peraturan Presiden) belum maksimal untuk membangun gerakan yang terstruktur, sistematis dan masif. Dari komitmen anggaran saja sangat minim. Belum lagi rata-rata setiap APBD kota tidak sampai 1-2 persen menganggarkan untuk pengelolaan sampah. Perlu intervensi dan kolaborasi pusat dan daerah bahkan pemerintah dan swasta,” katanya.

APEKSI bersama CSEAS Indonesia dengan dukungan Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) dilaksanakan dalam rangkaian HUT ke-23 Apeksi di Palembang, Sumatera Selatan, pada 6 Juni 2023 pun telah mengadakan dialog kebijakan nasional bertajuk “Peningkatan Pengelolaan Sampah Perkotaan Menuju Kota Berkelanjutan”.

Oleh karena itu Bima menyatakan, Apeksi akan mendorong advokasi Perpres yang lebih baik, karena terbukti intervensi pusat dalam operasional itu efektif. Namun, perlu kajian dan masukan dari bawah.

“Dinas LH harus ikut merumuskan kebijakan nasional yang mendorong upaya di tingkat kota. Diskusikan seperti apa bentuk Perpres yang lebih baik, untuk pendanaan, kelembagaan dan regulasi yang lebih tajam dan praktis bagi daerah. Apeksi siap membuat kajian lebih serius, dan melahirkan policy brief untuk Presiden, Kementerian/Lembaga di Pusat dan termasuk kepada Kepala Daerah,” kata Bima.


Dialog Kebijakan Nasional, Bima Arya: Indonesia Darurat Sampah, Perlu Perpres yang Lebih Baik

TRIBUNNEWSBOGOR.COM — Ketua Dewan Pengurus Asosiasi Pemerintah Kota Seluruh Indonesia (APEKSI) Bima Arya membuka dialog kebijakan nasional bertajuk ‘Peningkatan Pengelolaan Sampah Perkotaan Menuju Kota Berkelanjuta’.

Kegiatan tersebut merupakan kolaborasi APEKSI bersama CSEAS Indonesia dengan dukungan Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ) dilaksanakan dalam rangkaian HUT ke-23 APEKSI di Palembang, Sumatera Selatan, Selasa (6/7/2023).

Menurut Bima Arya, masalah sampah memang belum jelas penyelesaiannya. “Hari ini kita bangga sekali Indonesia jadi satu dari 20 negara dengan kekuatan ekonomi terbesar di dunia. Di prediksi 2045, sangat mungkin Indonesia masuk 5 besar ekonomi dunia.

Tapi di saat yang sama, ada satu masalah yang belum jelas penyelesaiannya adalah soal sampah,” ungkap Bima yang juga Wali Kota Bogor.

Ia menunjukan data, sekitar 70 persen lebih sampah ditimbun di Tempat Pembuangan Akhir (TPA), 15 persen tidak terangkut, yang didaur ulang mungkin 10-15 persen saja.

“Kondisi ini menjadi indikasi bahwa negara ini sedang mengalami darurat sampah. Belum lagi ada berapa kota yang TPA-nya bermasalah, tidak punya TPA, ditolak warga dan lain sebagainya.

Belum lagi kesulitan mencari lahan TPS di Kelurahan atau RW,” terang Bima.

Bima mengatakan, pendekatan soal persampahan belum komprehensif, totalitas, sistemik dan masif.

“Kita lihat saat ini Perpres (Peraturan Presiden) belum maksimal untuk membangun gerakan yang terstruktur, sistematis dan masif.

Dari komitmen anggaran saja sangat minim.

Belum lagi rata-rata setiap APBD kota tidak sampai 1-2 persen menganggarkan untuk pengelolaan sampah.

Perlu intervensi dan kolaborasi pusat dan daerah bahkan pemerintah dan swasta,” katanya.

Untuk itu, lanjut Bima, APEKSI akan mendorong advokasi Perpres yang lebih baik, karena terbukti intervensi pusat dalam operasional itu efektif.

Namun, perlu kajian dan masukan dari bawah.

“Dinas LH harus ikut merumuskan kebijakan nasional yang mendorong upaya di tingkat kota.

Diskusikan seperti apa bentuk Perpres yang lebih baik, untuk pendanaan, kelembagaan dan regulasi yang lebih tajam dan praktis bagi daerah.

APEKSI siap membuat kajian lebih serius, dan melahirkan policy brief untuk Presiden, Kementerian/Lembaga di Pusat dan termasuk kepada Kepala Daerah,” tandasnya.

Dialog tersebut dihadiri juga oleh Direktur Pengendalian Pencemaran dan Kerusakan Lingkungan KLHK Dasrul Chaniago, Direktur Sustainable Waste Indonesia Dini Trisyanti, Perwakilan GIZ Piyush Dhawan dan Direktur Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) Arisman.

Bagaimana Cara Menggunakan Strategi “Nudging” dalam Mengurangi Plastik Sekali Pakai?

Kompasiana, 18 Maret 2023 – Satu juta botol plastik dibeli setiap menit, sementara hingga 5 triliun kantong plastik digunakan di seluruh dunia setiap tahunnya. Sayangnya, setengah dari semua plastik yang diproduksi dirancang hanya untuk sekali pakai.

Menurut Program Lingkungan Perserikatan Bangsa-Bangsa, kita menghasilkan sekitar 400 juta ton sampah plastik setiap tahun.

Untuk meningkatkan fokus pada perubahan perilaku untuk mengurangi plastik sekali pakai, Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), sebuah wadah pemikir terkemuka di Indonesia, baru-baru ini menyelenggarakan seminar bertajuk “Strategi “Nudging” untuk Pengurangan Penggunaan Plastik Sekali Pakai” di Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik (FISIP) Universitas Indonesia (UI) di Depok.

Pengurangan plastik sekali pakai merupakan langkah awal untuk mewujudkan Indonesia bebas plastik. Pengurangan dapat dicapai melalui berbagai cara, seperti nudge theory, yang merupakan pilihan baru dan layak.

“Nudge theory adalah suatu cara untuk mengubah perilaku individu dengan memberikan dorongan-dorongan persuasif dengan memberikan penekanan pada tiga aspek, yaitu psikologi, ekonomi, dan sosial. Konsep dorongan ini sesuai jika diterapkan dalam lingkup lingkungan, dengan penerapannya yang tidak mengikat pola perilaku individu seperti aturan dan larangan,” kata CSEAS dalam siaran persnya.

Tujuan utama dari seminar ini adalah untuk memberikan pengetahuan terkait nudge theory dalam penerapannya untuk mengurangi plastik sekali pakai, sekaligus upaya untuk menjalin kerjasama potensial dengan berbagai pihak dan pemangku kepentingan untuk mengatasi permasalahan sampah plastik sekali pakai.

Seminar tersebut menampilkan pembicara terkemuka dari dalam dan luar negeri seperti Dr. Atsushi Watabe, Programme Director of Sustainable Consumption & Production in the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Jo. Kumala Dewi, Direktur Kemitraan Lingkungan, Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan, Ayako Mizuno, Programme Manager of Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris (RKC-MPD) in the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Arisman, Direktur Eksekutif dari CSEAS, dan Dr. Nurul Isnaeni, Dosen Ilmu Hubungan Internasional di Fakultas Ilmu Sosial dan Ilmu Politik Universitas Indonesia. 

Acara dapat disaksikan dengan mengklik tautan berikut ini: https://www.youtube.com/live/uabSxUeyEEs?feature=share 

Pada tahun 2019, Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan telah mengeluarkan Permen LHK Nomor 75 tentang Peta Jalan Pengurangan Sampah oleh Produsen. Peraturan tersebut bertujuan untuk melibatkan produsen agar ikut bertanggung jawab atas produksi kemasan mereka. Pengurangan sampah melalui produsen sebagai salah satu stakeholders merupakan satu dari banyak cara yang dapat dilakukan untuk menanggulangi permasalahan sampah.

Pada tahun 2023, IGES bekerja sama dengan ERIA, akan melakukan pilot project di berbagai negara ASEAN, seperti Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, dan Filipina, yang bertujuan untuk mengurangi sampah mulai dari sampah plastik hingga makanan melalui pendekatan behavioral insight. CSEAS sebagai partner di Indonesia bekerjasama dan melakukan pilot di FISIP UI.

Behavioral insight penting untuk mengurangi sampah plastik di Indonesia.

“Tujuan pilot ini adalah bagaimana aplikasi behavior insight dalam pengurangan sampah plastik di Indonesia,” ujar Atsushi dalam sambutannya.

Dalam upaya mengurangi sampah plastik, kita bisa menggunakan cara khusus.

“Untuk mengatasi hal ini kita dapat memulai dengan metode 3M, yaitu Mulai dari diri sendiri, Mulai dari hal kecil dan Mulai dari sekarang,” kata Jo.

Perubahan perilaku juga berlaku bagi produsen plastik.

“Dalam penerapan behavior change, tidak hanya perilaku konsumen tetapi juga perilaku produsen,” jelas Arisman.

Ada juga peran mahasiswa yang harus dimainkan dalam mengurangi sampah plastik.

“Mahasiswa sebagai pemangku kepentingan terbesar di kampus harus ikut serta dalam mengurangi permasalahan sampah plastik,” saran Nurul.

Seminar dilanjutkan dengan kick-off meeting sebagai tanda pembuka atas berjalannya program intervensi pengurangan plastik sekali pakai yang akan dilaksanakan di kantin FISIP UI.

How to Reduce Single-Use Plastics Using The Nudging Strategy? – OpEd

Eurasiareview – One million plastic bottles are purchased every minute, while up to five trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year. Unfortunately, half of all plastics produced is designed for single use.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, only a small amount of plastics was produced, hence why global plastic waste was relatively manageable. However, between the 1970s and the 1990s, plastic waste generation more than tripled due to a rise in plastic production. In the early 2000s, the amount of plastic waste generated increased more in a decade than it had in the previous 40 years. If historic growth trends continue, the global production of primary plastics is forecasted to reach 1,100 million tons by 2050. There is also a worrying shift towards single-use plastic products.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, 400 million tons of plastic waste are produced every year. Approximately 36 percent of all plastics produced are used in packaging, including single-use plastic products for food and beverage containers, approximately 85 percent of which ends up in landfills or as unregulated waste.

It is estimated that 1,000 rivers are accountable for nearly 80 percent of global annual riverine plastic emissions into the ocean, which range between 0.8 and 2.7 million tons per year, with small urban rivers as the biggest polluter.

In countries with poor solid waste management systems, plastic waste – especially single-use plastic bags – can be found clogging sewers and providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes and pests, thereby increasing the transmission of vector-borne diseases like malaria.

To increase the focus on behavioral change to reduce single-use plastics, the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS), a leading think tank in Indonesia, recently organized a seminar titled “Nudging Strategy for the Reduction of Single-Use Plastics” at the Faculty of Social and Political Sciences (FISIP) of the University of Indonesia (UI) in Depok, Indonesia.

The reduction of single-use plastics is the first step to creating a plastic-free Indonesia. Reduction can be achieved through various means, such as the nudge theory, which is a novel and viable option.

“The nudge theory is a method used to change individual behavior through persuasive encouragement, which emphasizes three aspects: psychological, economic, and social. This concept is appropriate for use in the environmental scope as its implementation does not restrict individual behavioral patterns, unlike rules and prohibitions,” the CSEAS said in a press release.

The nudge theory was popularized by behavioral economists Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their seminal book “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness”. The foundational premise of a nudge involves designing or arranging the decision-making context in ways that promote behaviors that are in the interest of individuals. 

Nudging is an approach that is dependent on behavioral science, which uses subtle interventions to help people make better decisions. To be effective, a nudge must follow a two-step process: First, the target behavior needs to be identified. Second, a choice architecture (the context in which people make decisions) must be created or modified to make it easier for individuals to choose a better solution.

A nudge is to isolate a particular aspect of the choice architecture (e.g., the admission options displayed when a visitor first enters the museum) and consider how that element could be modified or controlled to guide an individual toward taking a desired action (e.g., changing the order of options for admission to present membership in the first position).

When designing a nudge within an existing decision environment, the choice architect makes changes by adding, removing, or adjusting elements that affect the decision-making process. Whatever the situation, there is no such thing as a neutral design – everything has the potential to influence decisions, for better or worse. 

The main purpose of the seminar, which was held on March 15, was to share knowledge on the nudge theory and its implementation in single-use plastic reduction as well as to build cooperation with various stakeholders to overcome the single-use plastic problem. 

The seminar presented several prominent speakers from Indonesia and other countries, such as Dr. Atsushi Watabe, Programme Director of Sustainable Consumption & Production at the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES), Jo Kumala Dewi, Director of Environmental Partnerships at the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ayako Mizuno Programme Manager for the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris, or RKC-MPD, at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Arisman, Executive Director of CSEAS, and Dr. Nurul Isnaeni, lecturer of International Relations Studies at UI.

The seminar can be accessed by clicking the following YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/live/uabSxUeyEEs?feature=share 

In 2019, the Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry issued the Ministerial Regulation No. 75 on the Roadmap to Waste Reduction by Producers. This regulation aims to encourage producers to become more responsible for their product packaging. Waste reduction by producers is one of many ways that can solve the waste problem.
In 2023, IGES, in collaboration with ERIA, will conduct a pilot project in various ASEAN countries, such as Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, using a behavioral insight approach to reduce waste, ranging from plastic waste to food waste. As its partner in Indonesia, CSEAS will conduct the project at UI FISIP.

Behavioral insight is important to reduce plastic waste in Indonesia. “The purpose of this pilot study is to see how the application of behavioral insight affects plastic waste reduction in Indonesia,” Watabe said in his speech.

To reduce the plastic waste, a special method can be used. “To overcome this issue, we can use the 3M method: Start with Yourself, Start Small, and Start Now,” Jo said.
The behavioural change also applies to plastic producers. “The implementation of behavioural change does not stop at the consumer level; it applies to producer behavior as well,” Arisman said.

There is also a role to play by students in reducing plastic waste. “As the largest stakeholder in campuses, students must also become involved in reducing plastic waste,” Nurul suggested.

After the seminar, there was a kick-off meeting at FISIP to mark the beginning of the single-use plastic intervention program.

Circular economy approach can help reduce marine litter: officials

Bogor, West Java (ANTARA) – Indonesian government officials and scholars who joined a talk show organized as a pre-event to G20 meetings on Friday affirmed that adopting a circular economy approach could help reduce marine litter.

The talk show was organized by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS).

“I am confident that if we use the circular economy, it (plastic waste in oceans) will be reduced,” assistant deputy for waste management at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Rofi Alhanif, said.

Besides Alhanif, the talk show, which took place on the Indonesian island of Bali on Friday, also featured several other prominent speakers.

They included Alvaro Zurita, team leader of the European Union-Germany project on “Rethinking Plastics: Circular Economy Solutions to Marine Litter”; Ujang Solihin Sidik, a senior official from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry; Raldi Hendro Koestoer, a professor at the School of Environment of the University of Indonesia; Arisman, executive director of CSEAS; and Roger Spranz, co-founder of Making Oceans Plastic Free.

The speakers shared a common concern with regard to marine litter in Indonesia since each year, the country produces 60 million tons of waste, 17 percent of which is plastic waste, the CSEAS said in a press statement issued after the talk show.

Most of this plastic waste will end up in the oceans. Marine litter can have a harmful impact not only on marine creatures but also human beings.

For dealing with the issue, CSEAS executive director Arisman highlighted the importance of waste segregation and segregated waste collection to reduce plastic waste.

“We need social capital in villages to implement the circular economy,” he said, adding that circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible.

The circular economy has three main principles: eliminating waste and pollution, circulating products and materials, and regeneration of nature.

Thus, plastic recycling is a crucial step toward a circular economy, but achieving circularity calls for action at every point in the lifetime of a product: from design to waste management, he argued.

Regarding the main objectives of the talk show, the CSEAS disclosed that it aimed to shed light on the policies and approaches of both the EU and Indonesia in advancing the circular economy of plastics to address the problem of marine litter.

The talk show also aimed to showcase the efforts taken by Indonesia and its several cities to address the problem of marine plastic litter and promote the implementation of a circular economy in Indonesia.

For Indonesia, which is holding this year’s G20 presidency, marine litter-related issues are important considering that the G20 countries, which are the largest economies in the world, account for approximately 75 percent of global material use and 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2017, the G20 countries adopted the “G20 Action Plan on Marine Litter” at the Hamburg Summit.

After two years, they adopted the “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” which aims to reduce additional pollution by marine plastic litter to zero by 2050 through a comprehensive life-cycle approach.

In 2018, the EU set bold targets for plastic recycling quotas and recycled content requirements as part of its plastics strategy.

“It (extended producer responsibility or EPR) got more and more attention and there is momentum now in the region. When EPR is not questioned anymore, if it should be it is more and how?” said Zurita at the talk show.

Penggunaan Barang Daur Ulang Langkah Nyata Kurangi Sampah Plastik di Lautan

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA – Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) mengungkapkan setiap tahun Indonesia menghasilkan 60 juta ton sampah dengan 17 persennya adalah sampah plastik yang sebagian besar berakhir di lautan. Padahal, sampah-sampah itu tidak hanya berbahaya bagi makhluk laut tetapi juga manusia.

Guna mencegah sampah-sampah berakhir di laut, pejabat pemerintah dan akademisi Indonesia yang mengikuti talkshow pra-pertemuan G20, Jumat (26/8/2022) menegaskan penerapan pendekatan ekonomi sirkular dapat membantu mengurangi sampah laut. “Saya yakin jika kita menggunakan ekonomi sirkular (sampah plastik di lautan) akan berkurang,” kata Asisten Deputi Pengelolaan Sampah Kementerian Koordinator Bidang Kemaritiman dan Investasi, Rofi Alhanif dalam talkshow ini diselenggarakan CSEAS.

Selain Alhanif, talkshow yang berlangsung di Pulau Bali, Indonesia, Jumat, juga menghadirkan beberapa pembicara terkemuka lainnya. Mereka termasuk Alvaro Zurita, pemimpin tim proyek Uni Eropa-Jerman tentang “Memikirkan Kembali Plastik: Solusi Ekonomi Sirkular untuk Sampah Laut”; Ujang Solihin Sidik, pejabat senior Kementerian Lingkungan Hidup dan Kehutanan; Raldi Hendro Koestoer, Guru Besar Sekolah Lingkungan Hidup Universitas Indonesia; Arisman, direktur eksekutif CSEAS; dan Roger Spranz, salah satu pendiri Making Oceans Plastic Free.

Para pembicara memiliki kepedulian yang sama terhadap sampah laut di Indonesia karena setiap tahun. Menyikapi hal tersebut, Direktur Eksekutif CSEAS Arisman menyoroti pentingnya pemilahan sampah dan pengumpulan sampah terpilah untuk mengurangi sampah plastik.

“Kami membutuhkan modal sosial di desa untuk menerapkan ekonomi sirkular,” katanya, seraya menambahkan ekonomi sirkular adalah model produksi dan konsumsi, yang melibatkan berbagi, menyewakan, menggunakan kembali, memperbaiki, memperbarui, dan mendaur ulang bahan dan produk yang ada selama mungkin.

Ekonomi sirkular memiliki tiga prinsip utama: menghilangkan limbah dan polusi, mengedarkan produk dan material, dan regenerasi alam. “Dengan demikian, daur ulang plastik merupakan langkah penting menuju ekonomi sirkular, tetapi mencapai sirkularitas memerlukan tindakan di setiap titik dalam masa pakai suatu produk: dari desain hingga pengelolaan limbah,” katanya.

Mengenai tujuan utama dari talk show tersebut, CSEAS mengungkapkan hal itu bertujuan untuk menjelaskan kebijakan dan pendekatan UE dan Indonesia dalam memajukan ekonomi sirkular plastik untuk mengatasi masalah sampah laut. Talkshow ini juga bertujuan untuk menunjukkan upaya yang dilakukan Indonesia dan beberapa kotanya untuk mengatasi masalah sampah plastik di laut dan mempromosikan penerapan ekonomi sirkular di Indonesia.

Bagi Indonesia yang menjadi presiden G20 tahun ini, isu terkait sampah laut menjadi penting mengingat negara-negara G20 yang merupakan ekonomi terbesar di dunia, menyumbang sekitar 75 persen penggunaan material global dan 80 persen emisi gas rumah kaca global. Pada tahun 2017, negara-negara G20 mengadopsi “Rencana Aksi G20 tentang Sampah Laut” di KTT Hamburg.

Setelah dua tahun, mereka mengadopsi “Osaka Blue Ocean Vision,” yang bertujuan untuk mengurangi polusi tambahan oleh sampah plastik laut menjadi nol pada tahun 2050 melalui pendekatan siklus hidup yang komprehensif. Pada tahun 2018, UE menetapkan target yang berani untuk kuota daur ulang plastik dan persyaratan konten daur ulang sebagai bagian dari strategi plastiknya.

“Ini (extended Producer responsibility atau EPR) semakin mendapat perhatian dan ada momentum sekarang di daerah. Ketika EPR tidak dipersoalkan lagi, apakah harus lebih dan bagaimana?” kata Zurita.

Combining waste sorting with segregated transport system needed: CSEAS

Bogor, W Java (ANTARA) – An environmental economist at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS) highlighted the importance of combining waste sorting at homes and a segregated waste transport system to achieve sustainable waste management in Indonesia.

To this end, the CSEAS has conducted a pilot project in Kendalpayak Village, Malang District, East Java Province, the think tank’s environmental economist, Risman, noted in a press statement on Saturday.

The pilot project, conducted by the CSEAS along with the Malang District Environment Agency with support from the European Union and German Government (GIZ), was aimed at building local capacity for waste sorting at homes and implementing a segregated waste transport system, he remarked.

“This model can also be replicated in other regions of Indonesia,” according to Arisman, who is concurrently the Jakarta-based CSEAS’ executive director.

To wrap up the pilot project, a workshop titled “Empowering Local Capacity for Sustainable Waste Management and Extended Producer Responsibility toward Plastic Packaging” had been held at Malang’s Harris Hotel and Conventions on April 20, 2022.

At the workshop, a draft of policy recommendations and lessons obtained from the Kendalpayak project was presented to the Malang district administration.

Representatives from the German Government (GIZ), Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Ministry of Public Works and Housing, Malang District’s Environment Agency, 3Rs-based waste disposal facilities, waste banks, NGOs, plastic recycling companies, academicians, and local community figures participated in the workshop.

Renung from the Malang Regency Environment Agency was quoted in the press statement as saying that the pilot project served as a model and reference for revisions to the Regional Policy and Strategy (Jakstrada) on Household Waste Management and Similar Waste.

Indonesia has been striving to reduce waste entering landfills by 30 percent in 2025. The Indonesian Ministry of Environment and Forestry’s data revealed that plastics constituted 15 percent, or approximately 26.25 tons of the daily waste arriving in landfills.

To address this problem, the Indonesian Government has implemented various waste management regulations, including the Minister of Environment and Forestry Decree No.P.75/MENLHK/SETJEN/KUM.1/10/2019 on the Roadmap of Waste Reduction by Producers (20202029).

The decree is aimed at minimizing product and packaging waste that expands the role of producers in the post-production process through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, according to the press statement.

This EPR scheme is one of the main strategies used to reduce and manage packaging waste, especially plastics, in Indonesia. In this regard, local initiatives and the community play a crucial role in achieving sustainable waste management.

Each stakeholder plays an important role in making plans, programs, and concrete procedures that will accelerate and enhance waste management efforts, especially in Malang District, according to the press statement.