Feature: Matching waste owners and collectors, Indonesian youth initiates online mall to facilitate recycling

Source: Xinhua| 2021-12-22 18:44:26|Editor: huaxia

by Hayati Nupus

JAKARTA, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- A 27-year-old Adi Saifullah Putra was worried about the waste which is not managed properly around his residence in Makassar city on Indonesia's fourth-largest island of Sulawesi.

Piled up in landfills, scattered on streets, or thrown into rivers, most of the waste materials are eventually flowing into the sea.

"In fact, many types of waste can be reused, such as plastic or aluminum bottles, so we need to innovate to attract people willing to sort their waste materials and send them to recycling places," Putra told Xinhua on Monday.


In 2015, Putra created MallSampah, an e-commerce venture that pools waste owners or users with nearest collectors. Since 2019, MallSampah has been developed into an application that is more easily accessible.

At the beginning of its establishment, MallSampah received negative comments from several business experts, saying that it is an unlikely prospect based on economic calculations, as the local circular economic market had not yet been formed at that time.

However, many people welcomed this innovation, with around 35,000 users registered. Through this application, collectors can get cash, points to pay for electricity bills, or food vouchers.


After six years running, MallSampah has recorded transactions of at least 100 tons of trash per month. In certain seasons such as holidays or big events, the amount jumps to 300 tons per month.

Transactions at MallSampah have become smooth since around 500 collectors and scavengers are making huge efforts in the recycling chain.

Not only does MallSampah involve collector partners in Makassar, but also expands to Gowa, Takalar, Maros, Parepare on the same island, and even capital city Jakarta on the island of Java.

Zulfikar Asah, a 25-year-old young man, was confused about the proper disposition of a pile of unused items -- four boxes of old books and bags of plastic bottles, at his residence in Gowa district.

Based on his friend's recommendation, he looked for the solution through MallSampah.

"We are free to choose what time the trash will be picked up and relieved as the things we don't want anymore will be recycled, not just thrown away. And I got money out of doing this as well," said Asah.


Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the Environment and Forestry Ministry's director general for waste management, said that only 11 to 12 percent of the total 67.8 million tons of waste is recycled in Indonesia each year.

The problem is that Indonesians do not cultivate a culture of sorting out waste.

Most annoying is the single-use plastic waste, which takes hundreds of years to decompose, Ratnawati said, citing that a number of districts including Banjarmasin on the island of Kalimantan have banned the use of single-use plastic bags, or imposed rules on paid plastic bags, like those implemented in capital Jakarta and the resort island of Bali.

"We still have a long way to go, but at least some of us already got started," said Putra. Enditem

KEY WORDS: Indonesia,Waste Recycling,Innovation,FEATURE