In 2019, Borealis and Systemiq partnered with the government of Jembrana, a regency in the south of the Indonesian island of Bali, to start project Stop, a programme dedicated to reducing waste and plastics leakage into the environment. Now, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste-funded project has achieved financial sustainability and will be solely managed by the local government and community.
Indonesia is the second-largest plastic polluter in the world after China, according to the United Nations. In a 2020 report, the institution estimated that the Southeast Asian country produces 3.2 million tonnes of unmanaged plastic waste a year, of which about 1.29 million tonnes end up in the sea. While its plastic recycling rate stands at only 7%, the country has recently introduced five key strategies to reduce ocean plastic pollution by 70% in 2025. These focus on reducing plastics production and use, diminishing land- and sea- leakage, improving behavioural change, and stepping up funding mechanisms, where support from international organisations are expected to play an important role.
To date, Project Stop Jembrana has offered formal waste collection services to more than 124,800 people. It sorts waste to be sold for recycling and composting in its material processing facility (MRF) based at Peh landfill, near Negara municipality. The MRF has a processing capacity of 50 tonnes of post-consumer organics- and inorganics waste per day. It has already created 86 permanent jobs in the community and has collected over 12,959 tonnes of waste to date, including 1,528 tonnes of plastic.
The project runs door-to-door behaviour change campaigns, provides waste bins for pre-sorting at the household level, and employs waste collectors to pick up the sorted waste and bring it to the WPF.
”As one of the earliest projects funded by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, we are pleased to reach the important milestone of handing over a fully functional and economically viable waste management system to the Regency of Jembrana,” said Nicholas Kolesch, vice president of projects at the Alliance.
Jembrana is the third chapter of project Stop to be handed over to local government for future management, following the success of the regencies of Muncar and Pasuruan in early 2022 and 2023, respectively. Data on how the waste management services have been performing since entering local management has not yet been made public.
“The Jembrana government has embraced the system, taken full ownership of it, and already has plans for service expansion,” Borealis said in a statement. “Project Stop has been foundational in terms of future circular waste management expansion in the region and nationwide and other systems have already taken on its learnings,” the polyolefin manufacturer added.
Project Stop was co-founded by Borealis and Systemiq in 2017. At the regional level, a team of mainly Indonesian experts in waste management, plastic recycling, organics management, behaviour change, and programme governance work hand in hand with local government authorities to design and then implement a low-cost waste management system benefiting households and institutions.
“With the approach developed jointly with our partners, the Alliance To End Plastic Waste, Systemiq and the Jembrana Regency, we were able to demonstrate how an effective and cost-efficient waste management system works – from concept development towards implementation,” said Thomas Gangl, CEO of Borealis. “It is great to see that we have inspired the Alliance To End Plastic Waste to further roll-out waste management systems in Indonesia based on learnings made through Project STOP, which provided the blueprint. Ultimately, collaboration is key to scaling waste management systems further for the benefit of communities and the environment. There is no time to waste,” he concluded.