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[Bali life] Why is still separating waste important? -- Part 1

I have read a report written about waste management projects in Indonesia. There is an English summary at the end, but almost all of it is written in Japanese, so I will list the parts I took note of. I was particularly interested in the parts written about the waste type, the compost's problems as a by-product, and the business model.

Verification Survey with the Private Sector for Disseminating Japanese Technologies for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) Management by Sustainable Recycling Dispersion System

Let's start with some simple statistics. The breakdown of general waste in Indonesia is as follows (2016)

Landfill waste: 69%
Illegal dumping: 10%
Composting & recycling: 7%.
Wild landfill: 5%
Other: 5%.

Suppose we compare this breakdown of landfill waste and open burning. In that case, we can see a big difference between the 2001 and 2008 data: up to 2001, landfill waste and private open burning were almost equal (40% to 35%), whereas in 2008, the landfill was almost 70% and only about 5% of people burn our their waste at home. The number of landfill sites increases, but the proportion of landfills has not decreased, probably because the amount of waste is increasing.

Half of the landfill sites are open dumping sites, which are not hygienically maintained and are commonly referred to as a waste mountain. It is estimated that 60% to 70% of the waste collected in these piles is organic. Plastic waste is attracting worldwide attention, but organic waste is increasing in almost the same way.

A further problem in developing countries is the problem of waste separation. If you watch a video on YouTube about Bali in the 1930s, you will see that the Balinese people live a peaceful and simple life. Industrial products were not so common then. And they didn't have a lifestyle of mass consumption and mass dumping. From that way of life, maybe only about half a century has passed. As the statistics above show, suddenly, in this century, rubbish collection and landfilling became the standard waste disposal instead of burning in the field. So waste separation is not something that you can suddenly do if you're asked to sort out the rubbish with industrial products.

So if you are going to dispose of waste in a way that is not landfill, you have to have a system that can cope with a mixture of organic and inorganic waste.

There is a twist to this story, and I can't finish it yet, but it's getting long so I'll leave it at that for today.

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