Indonesia says "STOP" to plastic pollution

Posted on 04 April 2019.

Helping to stem the tide of ocean pollution, Veolia is actively involved in the Stop Ocean Plastics (STOP) project, which aims to create a circular economy for plastics in Southeast Asia.

Every year more than 8 million metric tons of plastic are dumped in the oceans, and more than half of this plastic comes from Southeast Asia (China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).

"Economic growth in these countries has increased the demand for plastics beyond the capacity of local waste management systems", explain the STOP promoters on their website. Which is why the initiative to organize plastic waste management ecosystems in this part of the globe was launched.

STOP project teams of experts work with cities to design and implement sustainable low-cost waste management models that generate as much value as possible from the plastic collected. Existing local initiatives and informal waste pickers are supported and incorporated into the business model.

Launched in 2017 by SYSTEMIQ and plastic producer Borealis, the STOP project was rolled out in Indonesia in April 2018. The first city partnership was with Muncar, a fishing port in Banyuwangi, East Java. In an area with 130,000 inhabitants, waste had invaded the port, beaches and rivers, transforming the picture postcard landscape into an open-air dump.


Threefold goal

Although the STOP project works hand in hand with local authorities and populations to create a waste management ecosystem (equipping trucks for waste collection, distributing sorting bins to households, composting organic waste, etc.), the long-term goal is three-fold: zero waste leakage into the oceans, higher plastic recycling rates and socio-economic benefits in the areas of public health, fisheries and tourism to improve living conditions.

The STOP project calls on a number of international experts specializing in waste management, plastic recycling, behavioral change and program governance. It is being rolled out in collaboration with technical and financial partners that include Veolia, Sustainable Waste Indonesia, Borouge, mtm Plastics GmbH, and most recently Nestlé – each of which bring their specific area of expertise.

For example, Veolia has formulated a series of recommendations on planning technical collection and sorting decisions as well as on the best recycling models. The Group's philosophy is to learn from the realities on the ground in order to acquire and develop the know-how that can then be capitalized on elsewhere on a larger scale.

Now operating throughout the Muncar region, the STOP project will now build new partnerships and expand into larger Indonesian cities, where up to 1 million people live.