Indonesia Expat
Charities Conservation Featured

Recycling Materials and Lives for a Brighter Future

While Titi Marley was growing up in Jakarta in the 90s, her parents were preachers, and they lived near a scavenger compound. Not one to sit still, her mother would gather the girls, who weren’t in school, and teach them to read. Titi was fascinated by the recycling process she saw there. “All the papers or plastic containers, glass and more was collected, immediately sorted and cleaned. A few times a week, a truck would come to the compound to buy the items. Things were weighed or counted, and the families were paid, based on how much they had collected,” she said. After living abroad and now raising her own girls, Titi wanted to recycle and be effective upon her return to Indonesia.



Jakarta Green Project

Phone: +62 (0) 21 844 3545 or + 62 (0) 818 0833 0633



Unilever Clean and Green Campaign





Email: [email protected]


Trash pickers have been on the front lines of informal recycling. It’s a job with a small return that cannot generally fund schooling for their children. Formal recycling is generally handled by waste management companies. In 2008, Indonesia passed Act 18, regarding municipal waste. Phased in over five years, the industry has recognised that raising environmental standards and recycling are keys to overcoming toxic dumps.

It’s estimated that 90-percent of what we throw away could be recycled, reused or composted. If each of us does his part, there are less parts ultimately thrown away, but instead, take on a new life. Aluminium cans or glass can be recycled endlessly. Steel can be reinvented as other steel products, and paper can be recycled up to seven times. These are the basic building blocks of tomorrow’s needs. Plastic, which is both a boon and bane for its resilience, has led to infinite creative uses, from carpet to clothing to auto parts, as well as new bottles.

Unilever sponsors a Waste Bank under its Jakarta Clean and Green campaign, which began educating and encouraging citizens in 2010 about garbage. People learn how to separate waste into compost and recyclables, and accepted items can be sold to 10 cooperative waste banks in Greater Jakarta with money banked for in accounts for them.

Waste4Change have passion for finding solutions to the country’s waste problems. “Our dream is to have a sustainable complete solution for waste problem: educate people, facilitate collection, and ensure a responsible treatment to deal with the waste,” said Zulfikar, Strategic Service Manager. Clients can count on them for responsible waste management, not burning or tossing trash into the river. The group reviews clients’ habits, and then, educates individuals and commercial clients on reducing waste and recycling with organized pick-ups.


Trash into Treasures

Bags made of rubbish by XS Project


Jln. Kaimun Jaya No.28 Cilandak Barat JakartaPhone:  021-75915840

Email: [email protected]



A clock made of bottle caps by Ffrash


Phone:  +62 (0) 8119107399

Contact: Gina Provó Kluit – Gonesh



Not-for-profit companies have blossomed, taking that principal a step farther. XSProject recycles waste into products that fund the education of trash pickers’ children. Retno Hapsari explained they pass on saleable materials to the trash pickers, keeping only unwanted waste for conversion to products for sale. They also buy plastic from scavengers, above the market rate, to create every kind of bag to hold pencils, groceries or laptops. Beyond giving new life to unwanted waste, she spells out their goal as, “Encouraging companies to donate reclaimed billboard materials, which are transformed into fun and functional products that make a strong environmental and social statement.”

Ffrash turns trash into high quality, sustainable, interior home design products and furniture. From clocks or tables to jeans and bottle pillows, to plastic bag lamps, the products are developed by well-known Dutch designers and made by former Indonesian street children. In the process, they create green producers and unlikely entrepreneurs. “Ffrash makes sure they get technical training from Dutch designers on a regular basis,” says Gina Kluit-Gonesh, “as well as safety and marketing training from different well-established companies. Every month all the Ffrash trainees receive remuneration. On top of that, KDM provides accommodation, food and medical care, and they are coached in their personal, social and emotional development.” Ffrash also buys waste from fishermen, securing them income, while creating incentive for cleaner waterways.

Jakarta Green Project hires graduated students of their street charity to work as recycling experts. They sort recyclables from commercial and residential pick-ups in South Jakarta for resale to recycling factories. Ibu Renie heads up this project, which picks up waste from more than 300 collection points, generating revenue to fund their work.

FFfrash and Jakarta Green Project are connected to Yayasan KDM, who rescues and supports street children. Since 1972, their vision has been “empowering street children to become skilled, confident and self-supporting young adults.” All of these organisations transform lives through education and further vocational training for children from these unhealthy environments, while transforming a sea of waste into usefulness.

Toxic Waste Removal

These places and people take in used batteries:



PT. Intimedia

Jl. Pakubuwono 6 No. 99 (behind Apotik Century)

Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta Selatan

Contact: Bayu (0817 128 615)


Sekolah Cikal

Jl. T.B. Simatupang Kav. 18

Jakarta 12430

Contact:  Mahmudin, bagian perpustakaan (0817 9249345)



Gd. Sarana Jaya Tebet (Superindo)

Lt. 5 No.517

Jl. Tebet Barat IV

Jakarta 12810



Jl. Tutul 6 no.515, Pondok Bambu

Jakarta 13430

Phone:  0815 950 6400




Jl. Aceh no.56

Phone:  022 – 426 1548

Contact: Tarlen


Yayasan Kontak Indonesia

Jl. KHA Dahlan No. 67

Phone:  022 – 723 0735

Contact: Endy

It’s only a matter of time before landfills begin to leak. Items from batteries to e-waste, like cell phones and computers, contain chemicals that can eventually leach into soil and water, creating environmental and health time bombs. Only 50 percent of computers are recycled. Those thrown into the dump contain lead, mercury and cadmium. Electronic devices and appliances, like televisions and refrigerators, have hazardous and benign materials, which can be recycled. On top of this, there are explosive and flammable materials. Be aware that all items with toxic elements should be recycled or disposed of properly to safeguard everyone’s health.

According to the State Ministry of Environment, Indonesia produced about 66 million tonnes of waste in 2010. The bulk of it comes from households and businesses, so the truth is that recycling needs to begin in every home and commercial enterprise. Keep these contact details handy to recycle and reform lives.

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