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Waste management gets tech boost in Indonesia

Medical waste from health facilities and households have created new problems in Indonesia during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indonesian Environmental Scientists Association (IESA) told an online discussion that Indonesia has 2,852 hospitals, 9,909 public health centres, and 8,841 health clinics. But less than 100 medical facilities have their medical waste treatments.

As the recorded COVID-19 cases have reached more than 100,000, medical waste was predicted to increase five times before the pandemic or around 1,000 tons per day. While the government has issued regulations and guidelines in handling waste, some of the third-party waste management companies have not followed through.

Now, garbage waste can turn out to be a business field for startup companies in the country. By offering a garbage collection feature, startups engaged in waste collection and management can make a fortune. This is what a waste collection app does, especially inorganic waste. Moreover, the inorganic waste collection campaign – including waste sorting – is still reverberating today.

Through an app, users will benefit from sorting waste, especially inorganic waste. Because, after the waste is sorted, the developers’ partner collectors will immediately come to the residence of the user who collects the waste to be collected and purchased at a price according to the type of waste. In this platform, users can sell inorganic waste that they have sorted with a minimum weight of three kilograms. Then, the garbage pick-up team from the developers called “pickers” will pick up the trash.

After weighing it, the waste will be appreciated by the pickers. For example, plastic waste is IDR 1,500 per kilogram (kg), cardboard or other paper waste IDR 1,000 per kg, glass waste IDR 300 per kg, used cooking oil IDR 2,500 per kg, aluminium can IDR 3,500 per kg, and multi-layer box IDR 250 per kg.

Garbage collectors will get a reward in the form of virtual coins according to the results of garbage collection. However, the sales proceeds still must be cut by 20% for the pickers. App users can use virtual coins to purchase credit, internet data packages, electricity tokens, or can be cashed into their bank accounts.

According to the tech start-up’s Chief Operation Officer, the app, which has been operating since July 2020, has recycled a total of 70 tons of waste. Most of it is in the form of cardboard or paper waste. Apart from paper or cardboard waste, waste that can be recycled is plastic, glass, and used cooking oil.

Until now, the service has been around Jabodetabek. In addition, there are also in Cirebon, Kuningan, Semarang and Kupang. Only this year specifically, the developers will further optimise services on the island of Java. The number of garbage collectors is 1,200 pickers while the users of this application reach 100,000 users, with 75% around Jakarta.

However, digital observers suggested that the developers should also give rewards in the form of real money so that more users will be generated.

Accordingly, as per reports, the government has placed solid waste management increasingly high on the national agenda,” said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment of the Republic of Indonesia. Universal solid waste collection is part of the current national mid-term development plan targets and is becoming even more important with the growing number of Indonesia’s urban population.

Over half of Indonesia’s population now lives in urban areas. While cities and municipalities generate an estimated 105,000 tons of solid waste a day – a number that is expected to increase to 150,000 tons per day by 2025 – 40% of the country’s 142 million urban residents still do not have access to basic waste collection services.

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