While many people believe that garbage is filthy and damaging to the environment, it can be manipulated into art or transformed into useful products that can, in turn, be sold to create an income. “Trash for Cash” is a collaborative initiative between Asian Agri, the Tanoto Foundation and the Pelalawan Environment Agency, with its purpose being to minimize waste in the village of Air Emas in Ukui Pelalawan through recycling, and at the same time improves the community’s disposable income.
Residents of Air Emas who attended the awareness-raising and training in August 2016 are now able to use their creativity to build recycled products, using the items they would otherwise have thrown away, and earning additional income by selling them.
Asian Agri is one of the largest palm oil producers in Asia, and has the capacity to annually produce one million tons of crude palm oil. Asian Agri owns 19 palm oil mills, and 160 000 hectares of palm plantation. Asian Agri is one of the independent subsidiary companies which are part of the Royal Golden Eagle (RGE) group of companies.
With this project, the company demonstrates how collaborating with a government agency and a philanthropic organisation can create positive outcomes for both the communities and the environment.
In 2015 the partnership between these three organisations set up the Asri Trash Bank in the Air Hitam village, where the locals receive money in return for depositing their recyclable waste.
The latest records show that the Asri Trash Bank manages 1-1.5 tonnes of waste monthly, which generates US$ 150-190 for the village. Residents have started their own local trade as well, by recycling materials into art and handcrafts.
Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor of plastic waste, a fact the Pelalawan Environment Agency recognises, and they are placing great emphasis on the importance of effective waste management in their country. They provide motorised garbage vehicles to extend garbage collection to other rural areas. Currently the Asri Trash Bank is the most active trash bank in Pelalawan.