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Personal Experience and Motivation

In several visits to Southeast Asia over the past years, the issue of deficient solid waste management in Indonesia and other countries in the region became increasingly apparent. In these visits and especially during two on-site research projects in Indonesia, I raised my awareness for environmental issues there, contacted stakeholders in relevant fields, and met initiators of waste-related projects. In an integrated water resource management project in 2009, I ran a survey on the behavior of residents towards water and the environment. In between February and May 2013, I investigated solid waste composition, current and potential treatments, waste management and collection systems, source separation, and payment schemes in a case study in two neighboring villages in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. The study was based on observations of local conditions, talks with residents and local representatives, and experiments. A year later, in February and March 2014, I collected information on current challenges and approaches in local waste management in meetings with government officials, academics, and entrepreneurs in Yogyakarta. In February 2016, I got in touch with expatriates in Bali and discussed current challenges of solid waste management there. From December 2016 to March 2017, I conducted expert interviews on stakeholder integration strategies in integrated solid waste management in Yogyakarta and Bali.

Wastewards’ Origin and Angle

Overall, there are infrastructural, educational, and managerial issues leading to deficient solid waste management and entailing negative consequences for the environment and human health. These issues and indirect factors additionally pressuring solid waste management in Indonesia are presented in Challenges. However, a more specific issue crystallized. Solid waste services in Indonesia and comparable countries are carried out by different providers. Next to the local government or municipality, there are private formal and informal service providers as well as non-governmental and community-lead initiatives. These providers usually operate independently and often use their own infrastructure and value chain. This condition leads to inefficiencies due to parallel infrastructures and value chains and an imbalance of service provision between regions. Often there is an oversupply of services in more urban regions and a lack of services in more rural regions. Such oversupply results in needless competition, overlaps, and conflicting interests. Value chains are often fragmented or brittle. Wastewards seeks to harmonize these chains and to allow for an equal access of different service providers. By setting basic standards for waste handling and by monitoring services, Wastewards intends to enhance continuity and resilience of value chains in solid waste management. In addition, this will assist increasing acceptance and willingness of residents to participate in source segregation and to use solid waste services.

Wastewards’ Goals
  1. increase managed-waste rates
  2. reduce waste-to-ocean rates
  3. reduce organic-waste-to-landfill rates
  4. create service-continuity and user-habituation

Our objective is to connect all available service providers with neighborhoods in a certain geographical area inside a shared value chain by occupying and replacing every necessary link in the chain.