Good Practices in Waste Management from Indonesia and the Philippines

Good Practices in Waste Management from Indonesia and the Philippines

During the recent DELGOSEA workshop in Siem Reap, the focus was on waste management worldwide, with participants learning from international experts and each other how to improve solid waste management in their own communities. The second article in our series on the different experiences looks at good practices and experiences from the Philippines and Indonesia.

The good practice from the Philippines did not need much of an introduction with the DELGOSEA crowd – the Marikina Eco-Savers was one of the most successful pilot projects of the original DELGOSEA project of best practice exchanges. Gloria Buenaventura, Head of the City Environment Management Office of Marikina City, outlined how the city successfully introduced recycling and waste separation.

The Philippine city of Marikina, on the island of Luzon, had developed an innovative recycling scheme, drawing on the cooperation with local schools to help collect recyclable waste, to deal with the problem of household waste and encourage environmental awareness in the younger generation. The name of the programme ‘Eco-Saver’ has several meanings, including the concept of saving the environment through awareness of sound environmental practices as well as economic savings realised through recycling of garbage.

The hugely successful and inspirational programme manages to bring together several aspects into one simple scheme. School students bring recyclable garbage from their respective households to school during an assigned Eco Day to be weighed and credited to their own Eco-Savers passbooks. This is a classic example of waste management at source; students and parents are partners of the city government in practicing waste segregation and recycling at household level.

This program is not only rewarding for the environment but also for the students who get points for the recyclables they bring to school. The recyclable garbage are valued according to the prevailing market price, i.e. PhP1.00 = 1 point. Points earned entitle the students to shop in the Eco-Savers bus, which carries educational materials such as dictionaries, books, school supplies and educational toys and basic commodities such as sugar, cocoa powder drink, and rice. Each student is issued the Eco-Savers passbook at the beginning of the school year. The passbook is where the points of the student-owner are credited and recorded according to the recyclable waste material he/she brings to school. An eco-saver who wishes to shop in the Eco-Savers Bus only needs to present this passbook, which entitles them to exchange their points with any of the goods sold inside.

The advantages of this good practice are easily understood: It addresses the current needs in solid waste management of many municipalities and, at the same time, offers an easy way to organise the handling of recyclable material. It is also an entirely local project, which can be managed with little  municipal administrative resources. Finally, It involves the population directly and at all stages, taking advantage of the power of family structures, embedded in the community.

Not surprisingly the Marikina Eco-Savers was replicated by four of the DELGOSEA pilot cities and has proved successful in many countries. 

The second good practice came from Indonesia with Mr. Galih Adhi Pramono,Programme Associate of UCLG-ASPAC, explaining the strategies UCLG ASPAC had devised to assist Indonesia cities in their waste management efforts. UCLG ASPAC pursues a three-pronged strategy of awareness raising, advocacy and partnering with municipalities to improve waste management in its member cities. As part of the ‘awareness’ element of the strategy, UCLG ASPAC UCLG ASPAC identifies the awareness of local governments on municipal waste management through pilot projects on solid waste management, communication with local governments and internal divisions, as well as field visits and capacity building.

For the ‘advocacy’ element UCLG ASPAC works with partners on advocacy to local governments to have proper waste management implementation. The organization also provides information and strategic advice on solid waste management based on the local resources and potential. As part of the ‘partnership’ strategy, currently, UCLG ASPAC is active with partners to promote best practices on solid waste management such as the Integrated Resource Recovery Center (IRRC) and the Community-Based Waste Management Scheme.

Of course, it is important to assess how successfully the strategy is implemented. While most Indonesian Cities are still practicing conventional waste management, i.e. waste disposal at a landfill, limited land space and a growing population is forcing municipalities to explore other options, focusing first of all on encouraging a reduction in waste, followed by an emphasis on reuse and recycling before consigning the remaining waste to landfills.

One of the best practices being promoted to Indonesian local governments is the Integrated Resource Recovery Center (IRRC), a facility where a significant portion (80-90%) of waste can be processed in a cost effective way, in proximity to the source of generation, and in a decentralized manner. Another approach is being practiced and promoted as a best practice by the island of Wakatobi (one of DELGOSEA’s original pilot cities): As a ‘low carbon island’ it is waging a war on littering and is gaining alternative energy through a biogas digester.

Both of these examples from different ASEAN countries provided an inspiration to the participants from other countries who were keen to get more information were discussion how best to implement similar schemes in their own municipalities.

For more information on on waste management:

Exchanging Information on Waste Management in Asia and Europe

Waste Management Captures DELGOSEA’s Imagination in Siem Reap

Results from Waste Management Survey in Cambodia Published

DELGOSEA Members Concerned about Waste Management in their Communities

Turning Waste into Alternative Energy in Kendari, Indonesia

Chiang Rai City, Thailand

DELGOSEA Resources on Waste Management

Case study – Innovative Waste Management in Thailand