Nowadays, Indonesians are starting to learn to reduce their waste. Everyone seems to have their own straw and shopping bag – trying to refuse plastic to save the earth. While waste management had been a crucial topic of discussion in Indonesia since the Leuwigajah landfill avalanche back in 2005, the effort to reduce waste had only recently taken centre stage in public awareness and national policy – 14 years after the incident.
Can we actually start earlier? What does it take to make responsible waste management our daily behaviour?
How we manage our waste has become a daily behaviour and a part of the culture. For most Indonesians, the old adage of “throw your waste in the right place (waste bins)” still resonates as local wisdom. Unfortunately, the public simply does not care about how the waste is managed beyond the waste bin they put their waste into. The public’s responsibility lies solely on placing the waste in the waste bin and someone else will pick it up. This fact is confirmed by a research by the central bureau of statistics in their Index of Environmental Public Apathy Report (1); waste management issues reaches to 0.72 by 1 on the index, the highest among other environmental issues. This culture, whether we realize it or not, makes Indonesians accustomed to having someone else clean up after their mess. To shape a proper behaviour in managing waste, we might want to take a look at the example of Japan.
Since an early age, Japanese had practised responsibility for their own waste. In Japanese schools, children are responsible for cleaning their classrooms, hallways, staircases, and— in some schools— even the bathrooms. Basically, Japanese values are: when you use a particular space, it is your duty and responsibility to ensure that you leave that space clean (2). No wonder, even though it is difficult to find a trash bin in Japan, Japanese streets are exceptionally clean – most likely because when there are no trash bins, people just take their waste home with them! (3). The value of food and the concept of ‘mottainai’ (‘what a waste!’) is also introduced in Japanese society and had created a nation that tries their best to finish what’s on their plate and therefore prevent food waste (4).
Indonesia can learn from Japanese practices. Environmental education, particularly on managing waste, should start early and be embedded in daily life to shape a proper behaviour. Both parents and teachers in schools play an important role in this education. However, this does not mean adults cannot learn to change. Waste4Change provide services that will help to learn about responsible waste management – both for children and adults. Through EDUBIS (Edukasi Bijak Sampah), Waste4Change will share a comprehensive understanding of responsible waste management directly in your office/place. Meanwhile, through AKABIS (Akademi Bijak Sampah), you will experience first-hand on how waste is managed during a one-day field trip. Lastly, by sponsoring 3R Green School, you will contribute to educating the young generation to manage their waste responsibly.
Considering to ingrain environmental values in your company? Wait no more – let’s learn together with Waste4Change for a better environment!
Text by Annisa Ratna Putri. This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine May 2019 issue “Kids, Family, and Education”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.