The amount of plastic waste generated in Indonesia is growing to unsustainable levels and there is an urgent need for better waste management, according to a 2021 report published by the World Bank.
Based on the report, “Plastic waste discharges from rivers and coastlines in Indonesia,” the country produces 7.8 million tons of plastic waste annually. More than half of it is mismanaged.
“We generate lots of plastic waste but little can be recycled due to non-optimal waste management,” said Endra Marsudi, CEO of BantuBumi, a startup that manages plastic refuse.
Founded in 2021 to tackle the issue of poor trash management, BantuBumi currently partners with 17 waste collectors and waste banks in Greater Jakarta to collect discarded plastic. The startup accepts two types of plastics: Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), such as soda and water bottles, and Polypropylene (PP), which is commonly used to make food containers and plastic cups. The plastic waste is brought to the company’s shredding plant where they are processed into flakes before being sold to recycling companies.
The startup has also launched a beta version of the app for waste collectors to digitalize their bookkeeping process and streamline their operations. “With the app, waste collectors can easily record the amount they have collected, the amount of waste to be recycled, and how much sales has been generated. They can also track invoices and payments on the app. Everything is recorded digitally so it is more transparent,” he told KrASIA.
“However, it will take time for waste collectors to adopt digital tools because they are used to the manual process. We even have to bring our own digital scales. We believe it is important to record data,” he added.
BantuBumi’s revenue is generated from the sale of plastic flakes, which have a gross margin of up to 60%. Going forward, Marsudi plans to launch a B2B app, which will serve as an ordering platform for its clients. A B2C app is also in the pipeline. It will show users the closest drop point and give them a way to track the volume of plastic they have deposited for recycling.
“We’ll add more waste collectors to our network of drop points. We’re also designing a drop box prototype, the ‘ATM Sampah,’ in partnership with a major food and beverage company. Through our app, people can find the nearest drop point to deposit their used plastic,” he said.
BantuBumi was among the ten finalists of the Alibaba Cloud x KrASIA Global Startup Accelerator Vietnam-Indonesia Demo Day that was held on February 10.