Rice 4 Plastic is a collaboration we launched with Bali Food Packs in response to the difficulties Balinese locals are facing due to COVID-19. For every 2 kilos of clean plastic brought in for recycling by a local we gave them 5 kilos of rice!
It lasted for two months before it was sadly shut down because of the crowds getting out of control and running out of donations to buy rice. We intend to start it back up again when we have the funds and a new space.
Bali Food Packs have been distributing rice around the island to help out the many locals who usually work in the tourism industry. This Rice 4 Plastic initiative allows us to help out even more locals impacted by COVID-19! A few words from Bronte, Alex & Francesca:
We started Bali Food Packs as a way to support people who had lost their income due to COVID-19. With so much support for this project, it inspired us to finally put in place an idea we had had about recycling plastic in exchange for rice in Bali.
The Rice 4 Plastic initiative with Emma from Ocean Mimic has been a wonderful passion project and experience. We are passionate about giving back to the beautiful land and people who have given us so much from living here the past three years. Collecting plastic from the environment, and giving it to us to recycle in exchange for rice, felt like a win-win for everyone involved in these hard times.
Together we handed out 4500 kilos of rice in exchange for 1800 kilos of plastic in the recycling centre as part of the scheme!
Read: The Ocean Mimic Recycling Centre for more information about what we’re doing in this space
Bali & Tourism
Bali has a long and lucrative history with tourism. It’s said that tourism makes up 50-60% of Bali’s economy. With up to 80% of the population reliant on tourism in some shape or form. However, due to the current pandemic this has all but dried up, leaving locals struggling to make ends meet. The normally bustling tourist spots and gorgeous beaches are pretty deserted. With most businesses (especially those linked with tourism and hospitality) boarded up and closed.
We know people have very different opinions on the impact tourism has had on Bali, be that good or bad! Irrespective of that though, it’s clear the vast majority of Balinese locals are struggling to support themselves and are going hungry during this difficult time.
This is what one local had to say:
I thank god for this project. At the moment I have no job because of Corona and I have three children to feed. Luckily there is always plastic to find and bring here for rice. Thank you.
Bali is due to remain closed to tourists until September / October, so still quite some time until the island can open back up to international tourism.
How can I get involved we hear you say?
Your donations pay for rice, staff and some basic supplies for the sorting set up.
We are back! We have partnered with Plastic Bank to start up the program again. It’s now invite only and we give 1 kilo of rice for every kilo of plastic. This new 1:1 ratio cuts out the people who are seeking to simply make a profit, some of whom 1) don’t need the rice 2) are buying plastic to trade.
The first week back we gave out 20 bags (100 kilos) of rice. However, we only have enough rice to do this for another two sessions. That’s why we desperately need your donations.
Not only are you helping locals who are in desperate need of rice due to near zero tourism, you are also encouraging plastic recycling!