In Bali, you can exchange plastic for rice: 4 other superb waste management systems around the world

As folks in Bali sustainably exchange plastic waste for rice, here are some ways recycling is helping other nations.

 |  1-minute read |   30-12-2021
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The pandemic has affected the globe in unimaginable ways; more so, those who had their occupations in the travel and tourism sector. Since the destiny of foreign flights has completely changed in the last 2 years, countries depending on tourism are looking for alternatives to generate revenue and feed their population. But that has not reduced the existing problems of plastic waste that our world has been facing for a long time. So, as we get to the end of 2021, what are countries doing about recycling waste?

Here is a quick look: 

1. Indonesia

200 villages in Bali are creating a ripple effect by participating in a unique Plastic for Rice transaction with the Bali Plastic Exchange

The Bali Plastic Exchange helps communities upgrade their waste management behaviour by engaging in dignity-based exchange systems that help in creating cleaner environments and sustainable lifestyles. They give rice, which is the staple food in Indonesia, for the plastic trash that the locals bring in. The collected plastic trash is then shipped off and sold to recycling companies in Java. The government also provides assistance in terms of cash subsidies, subsidised rice, and has not limited the amount of plastic that can be collected by an individual. 

About 600 tonne of plastic has supported 40,000 families in a year. 

2. India 

Companies like Banyan Nation are transforming the historical ways of plastic sorting by using the knowledge of kabadiwalas, raddiwalas and all other workers in the supply chain and tapping them into a data intelligence platform. This knowledge, along with the technical training, helps the workers find the most high quality materials for modern day usage. Once segregated, the plastic is washed and cleaned in the company's factory, the labels and adhesives are removed, and new reusable bottles are created. 

This can be used by FMCG companies for their production while reducing thousands of tonnes of waste. They implement this with a water intensive technology where clean water can be collected, used, recycled through Water Recycling Plants and re-generated again so that no ground water is depleted. 

3. Sweden

Sweden is the heavyweight champion in its waste management actions and processes nearly all of its waste, meanwhile also generating electricity in the process. It is known to turn its waste into gold! Just 1% of their waste is dumped in landfills as the most cities supply waste bags free of charge, with the rule that the waste is segregated carefully. Waste is separated by glass, plastic, organic waste, metal bottles, etc, and residents visit the recycling centres twice every week. 

Anything that cannot be recycled is taken to pallet generation plants, and incinerators turn waste into energy while generating heat and electricity for residents. Waste is seen as a commodity that makes tonnes of money for Sweden as countries pay fantastic rates to process their waste. 

Sweden is investing 98 million euros to create Site Zero, the world's largest plastic processing facility (to be ready by 2023) to recycle practically all kinds of plastic packaging without CO2 emissions. The facility will be powered by renewable energy and the roofs will be installed with solar panels. 

4. Japan 

There are mostly 4 types of garbage classification systems in Japan: combustible, non-combustible, resources and large items, and different wastes are collected on different days. Combustible waste includes kitchen waste, paper, old clothes, branches, etc., while incombustible includes metal, glass, ceramics and dry batteries, etc.

Disposal of large items is done on extra payment and as per scheduled appointments. Garbage collection points usually collect the everyday garbage and are covered with nets to prevent animals from pecking at them. Sometimes when rules are not followed, garbage is even returned. If residents are left with garbage with them on their way to some place, they take it home to sort it out and dispose the same. Littering is punishable by jail for upto 5 years and fined heavily. 

Japan's Kamikatsu is known for something it doesn't have: as a town they produce almost no trash. In 2003, this town created a Zero Waste Declaration and decided that there is nothing unworthy to be trashed, because everything has to be recycled. 

Though it was a time consuming obligation, Kamikatsu followed an aggressive 45-category classification system which helped them develop mindfulness about what they were using and caring for things.      

This is just proof that if society works together, wonders can work out in a matter of years.


Akshata Kamath Akshata Kamath @akshispublished

Akshata Kamath is a Digital Storyteller at DailyO. She loves to simplify Finance, Business, Healing and History.

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