Desa Sukunan is a quiet village in Yogyakarta, Central Java. Pak Iswanto, a local waste management expert introduced the concept of waste banking there.
At this ‘waste bank’ or ‘bank sampah’, the waste created by the household is divided into 2 categories; organic and non-organic. Organic waste is turned into compost and used to fertilize the soil, the non-organic waste is divided further into four categories: plastic, paper, bottles, and metal. Once the garbage bags are filled, they bring their haul to the neighborhood waste bank where they make a deposit. The teller at the ‘bank’ then records the weight of each bag and records and stores the deposited waste.
After the teller has recorded the waste bags, he then distributes a receipt to the customer. Deposited waste is sold to recyclers and craftspeople (they reuse the waste and make it into useful products that they can sell). At the end of the month, the revenue is used to fund the bank’s operations (15%) and the other 85% is distributed to the customers (individually or as a community).
One can decide to cash in at the end of the month or leave the money at the bank for a longer period of time, they can in this way save money safely for future education or other needs. The advantages of the bank are: trash is cash, people do not need to store the trash for a long time at their homes (healthier living environment), saving money responsibly, learn to make and use compost to make their land more fertile, and learn to make handicrafts from trash to earn some extra income.
Inge: “I was strolling through their neighborhood and could clearly witness the absence of litter and the stench of burning garbage. This could be a wonderful idea for the hotel school in Sumba to recycle our own production of garbage, teach the students the importance to keep Sumba Green and Healthy, and motivate the local community to recycle. We could send some people from Sumba to Pak Iswanto, they have constructed a 2-day program to teach people about the waste bank and composting.”