When Project STOP was launched in 2017 by Systemiq and Borealis, the idea of building effective and more circular waste management systems to end the leakage of plastics into the environment in Indonesia was viewed by many as an idealistic delusion. Today, five short years later, the programme’s first city partnership in Muncar, initiated in 2018 and located in the Banyuwangi Regency in East Java, has achieved its financial, governance and technical targets, reaching full economic autonomy. It’s tangible proof that, with the right approach, public-private partnerships can work.
With the handover of the management of the programme to the local government and the community Project STOP Muncar is entering a new phase; one also marked by expansion: the Banyuwangi government has asked Project STOP to extend waste operations to the entire Banyuwangi regency. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 23 December 2021 to formalise the agreement.
Project STOP, whose partners today include next to founders Systemiq and Borealis, Nestle, Nova Chemicals, Borouge, Schwartz Group, Veolia, SWI, as well as the governments of Indonesia and Norway, was established to tackle the problem of the eight to thirteen million tonnes of plastics entering the oceans every year. Half of this waste comes from Southeast Asia, where the capacity of local waste management systems has been far outstripped by the burgeoning plastics consumption that has come with the region’s economic growth.
To address the issue, the Indonesian government has set a target of reducing ocean plastic pollution by 70% by 2025.
At present, Project STOP Muncar reaches 90,000 people with regular waste collection services. Two material processing facilities have been established for recycling and composting waste at a full system cost of $30/tonne. Moreover, the programme has achieved a double-digit profit margin due to high community participation (more than 90% of households), and waste fee payment coupled with efficient operations.
With the expansion of the programme to the entire Banyuwangi Regency, it will reach up to 2 million people by 2025, creating over 1,000 full-time jobs and collecting 230,000 tonnes of waste (25,000 tonnes of plastic) annually.
Currently, some 850 tonnes of waste are generated daily in Banyuwangi Regency alone. Over 78%, or 666 tonnes, primarily from households, is simply burnt or dumped in nearby rivers or the environment.
“I hope this partnership can support the Banyuwangi Regency in implementing a sustainable waste management system, as an effort to prevent environmental pollution, to increase the recycling rate, and to provide social benefits to the community, as an expansion from the current approach in Muncar municipality,” said Ipuk Fiestiandani, Regent of Banyuwangi.
A handover ceremony took place today in the Banyuwangi Regency auditorium to celebrate Muncar’s autonomy and to mark the new expansion to Banyuwangi, with key local and international stakeholders joining in person and online. These included government representatives, local organisations, village heads, Systemiq, Borealis and Project STOP team members.
Joi Danielson, Systemiq Partner - SE Asia underlined the fact that the results of this first project at Muncar were due to the 'unwavering dedication, grit and creative problem solving' of the government partners to the projects as well as the team.“They have provided a successful path for Project STOP Banyuwangi, and hopefully many other city partnerships.”
To which Thomas Gangl, Borealis CEO added: “To create Project STOP, and then initiating it together with our partner Systemiq, this initiative has been very close to our hearts,” said “Being able to hand over the first city partnership programme to the local government fills us with joy, as it means that all of us got this right: the programme has now "grown up” and reached economic autonomy. We celebrate this milestone together with all our project partners and look forward to further expanding this important programme.”