A recycling center has been on our to do list for a while and at the beginning it seemed way out there and far too complicated. We have been creating plans and researching for months and just as we were kindly offered a free space by our partners Slab Interiors to test out the idea Corona hit us and forced us into pause mode. We are now ready to slowly and safely start it up again.
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Why are we creating a recycling center?
There are already working systems in place, so why are we reinventing the wheel?
One large part is to understand the process better. Recycling has become such a fascinating topic for us so we want to understand the ins and outs fully. Not only do we want to learn but we want our sorting space to serve as a space for education.
Another big driving factor is better control of our cleanup waste. When we do beach cleanups we only have one option for recycling and that is to use Eco Bali’s services. They have been fantastic but we don’t know exactly what happens to the waste.
Our estimates are that only 10% of the waste is being deemed recyclable and the rest goes to the landfill. Eco Bali is not to blame, cleanup waste is notoriously hard to recycle. We want to see if we can find creative ways to recycle or repurpose a greater percentage of the waste from cleanups.
Finally, we would like to eventually offer a service to others who (1) cannot afford or commit to a monthly recycling plan and (2) don’t want to go through the time intensive process of sorting their plastic into specific types PET, PP, HDPE etc. for the plastic bank.
We intend to work closely with local partners and initiatives in Canggu finding creative ways to recycle and upcycle while supporting the local economy and generating awareness.
Important note – we create sustainable swimwear out of recycled plastic BUT it is not from the plastic we pick up from beaches and won’t be from our recycled center either. The fabric is made of a specific nylon which isn’t commonly found in households, but more from industrial waste. It also wouldn’t make sense for us to ship a small box of nylon 6 all the way to Italy for processing – all to be able to market it as our waste. Now that is a great example of greenwashing!
What is the first step for our recycling center?
We cannot go from zero to hero in one rapid step. While we have been researching and planning for months we have now come to the point to just get our hands dirty and learn by doing.
The first step is to offer our recycling center for clean plastics to a small group of people in Canggu to practice and test the concept. What are clean plastics? Simply, our center isn’t there to scrub the dried up tomato paste off people’s plastic tub; it is to sort into types of plastic and redistribute them for recycling. We ask people who want to get involved to make sure their plastic is clean and all placed in one bag/box.
This first step is really important for us to understand the time, equipment and manpower needed and if we can create an economically viable model. What will follow will depend on our first prototype.
Once sorted into types of plastic we send them to various plastic recyclers.
Other > Artists & more …
Based in Berawa they create stunning plants pots out of Ecocrete – a concrete made from cement and shredded plastic. They have kindly lent us an area of their warehouse as our first sorting center. While they currently only use PET bottles we are planning on experimenting together with using typically non-recyclable plastics as well.
Based in Perenenan they have a recycling factory where they shred and melt down HDPE and PP into big plastic sheets and tiles which can then be used to create anything from houses, artwork to sunglasses!
The most challenging section is ‘Other’ – the non-recyclables. These plastics currently have no recyclable value. These are the most interesting, they are a big problem which needs to be solved. This is where we get creative, working with local artists and engineers to give them purpose instead of sending them to landfill.
Slab Interiors are willingly taking any hard plastic which leaves us with all the thin plastics apart from plastic bags. One idea is to use these to make eco bricks.
A full scale recycling center, a recycling center just for cleanup waste, recycling centers across the world!? Who knows? If we have learned one thing from Ocean Mimic it is that evolution is unpredictable. We will give it a go and see what works with the aim of making it more accessible, cheaper and more effective.
What pushes us forwards is the vision of plastic free oceans.
How can you help?
If you’re living in Canggu you can get involved by signing up to our plastic recycling service and/or you can volunteer to help us at the sorting space!
We are also looking for donations to grow this project by employing locals and being able to accept more plastic.
Any donations are really appreciated!
Please donate via:
What other recycling centers are there in Canggu?
If you want to recycle your household waste in Canggu you have a few options but not many people know about all of them. Some are easier that what we are offering but cost money, some are harder but you get paid.
Here are a few:
1) Eco Bali
2) Local Banjars
3) Plastic Bank
Eco Bali is a paid service costing approximately 115,000 Rp a week for collecting and sorting your inorganic waste and then sending it on to recycling centers in Java. It’s available in Canggu and parts of Seminyak.
Pros – very easy, widely available in Canggu region
Cons – relatively expensive
Local Banjars are sub districts of Canggu. Each Banjar has a meeting space and every month they have one day when you can bring your sorted recyclables and you get paid for them. However, this is a fairly new system and we don’t yet know which day of the month it is for every banjar and if the system is working in all of them. Best to ask at your local banjar.
Pros – you get paid, supporting local initiative
Cons – difficult to find information, time intensive to sort
Plastic Bank is a large company who pay cash for all recyclables once sorted and cleaned. They have a new branch in Berawa so anyone who wants to sort and clean their recyclables themselves can bring them there directly. Then they sell this on to bigger buyers and it ends up in Java or China to be recycled in a plant there.
Pros – you get paid
Cons – time intensive to sort
Wish us luck!
So off we go! We hope that you can support our new venture in some way and we hope that in some small way it can help minimise the amount of plastic waste ending up in our oceans and rice fields.
Feel free to get in contact to ask any questions! Always happy to help out!