Indonesia – Turning Plastic Bottle Wastes into a Blessing

14 February 2023

(ANS – Jakarta) – At the beginning, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Post-novitiate Community in Sunter, North Jakarta, Indonesia planned to make compost from leftover vegetables or fruit from the kitchen. For this, a resource person was invited to give a seminar to the community on how to process waste properly. In effect since the waste processing program, the Salesians no longer throw garbage outside the community. This means that waste at home were allocated to become fertilizer. Plastic drums were used regularly in processing waste such as garbage from the kitchen.

In further developments, collecting used beverage bottles and water gallons such as Le Mineral and Aqua were also accepted. Considering that the community rarely consumes bottled water, another method was used namely asking for help from the people outside to bring used bottles to the community. These people are those who come to attend the Eucharistic Celebration every Sunday at the community chapel. This method works well.

In August 2021, the Salesian community became acquainted by Whatsapp (WA) with Mr. Angga Rizyan, the coordinator for Plastic Bank Indonesia, a private organization that collaborates in promoting Laudato Si through collecting and recycling plastics before it gets into the ocean and turning them into social funds of the community.

In an online meeting via Google meet, wastes were being discussed especially plastic waste. Plastic waste, especially plastic bottles, is rather difficult to decompose. So plastic bottle waste needs to be collected and processed properly. And after this meeting, the Salesians of Don Bosco community and Plastic Bank Indonesia simultaneously signed a cooperation agreement in dealing with plastic bottle waste.

Since then, the Salesian community and the people around have started regularly collecting plastic bottles. Seeing the growth in the number of plastic bottles, a plastic bottle storage facility was built. One or two brothers were assigned to tidy up the existing plastic bottles so that the plastic bottles are arranged in the space provided. They removed the caps from the bottles, separated the plastic wrappings for the bottles, and flattened the bottles so that they could be put in a large number of sacks. If there are a lot of bottles, the whole community work on it together. From this work, a number of plastic bottles were successfully delivered to the Plastic Bank’s team twice. In the first phase, they managed to collect 216 kilograms of plastic bottles. And in the second phase, they collected not only plastic bottles but also gallons of water and jerry cans which weighed as much as 385 kilograms.

Based on this experience Bro. Bernardinus Mei, SDB shares, “I can say that the positive thing I got was reducing plastic bottles being wasted or scattered everywhere. In other words, I can say that there is awareness to collect plastic bottles, thereby reducing plastic bottle waste anywhere. In this case, people who routinely collect plastic bottles also participate in protecting their yard and the environment from plastic bottle waste. If everyone has the same awareness, then gradually we will all be able to provide environmental protection that is clean the surroundings from plastic bottle waste and prevent plastic pollution in the oceans. Plastic bottle waste cannot be decomposed or decomposes if it is buried in the ground. Therefore, plastic bottles need to be collected and processed for new materials. So used plastic bottles are a blessing.”

Source: AustraLasia


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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