Mechanically upcycling plastic waste to reduce environmental pollution and improve the villagers’ quality of life

With an estimated 73 million tons of household waste each year and an annual growth rate of 2 to 4 %, indonesian infrastructure remains yet to be upgraded (90% of the country’s dumps are still open-air) and the country is facing critical challenges regarding waste management (Bernstein, 2014).

Indonesia is also the second largest producer of plastic waste thrown into the sea after China. Each year, plastic use is on the rise due to the emergence and rapid development of a wealthier middle class attracted by the Western consumption model, thus preferring processed and wrapped-up products to local fresh ones. Another reason is the use of individual and single-use packaging enabling large companies to sell to the less privileged classes a large selection of products at an affordable price.

At a local level, waste management and garbage pick-up don’t exist. Here is how waste is currently handled :

Green waste

70 to 80% of waste in Indonesian villages is of organic origins. It is essentially used for feeding domestic animals (cats, dogs, goats, chicken and cows).

Non-organic recyclable waste

A part of this non-organic waste is sold to companies or craftsmen by individuals who buy them from the villagers at a low price: returnable glass bottles (soft drink, beer), plastic water bottles and metal ware. This, however, generates little money and is only considered as an additional income.

Non-recyclable waste

Mostly plastic waste but also batteries are either burnt by the villagers or left on the beach or, by the rivers waiting for high tide or rain to wash them away. They can also be dumped in the open air or buried in the villages or nearby. These methods have a strong impact on the environment and the villagers’ health.

Rimba takes action on the third category of waste in order to help the local communities to preserve their environment and improve the sanitary conditions in their villages through :

The collection of batteries

Several collecting points will be set up in the village. The used batteries will be brought to Rimba Ecologde for customers to pack them and be recycled in their home countries.

Collecting plastics

Rimba distributed large bags to the villagers to collect plastics. To facilitate this collection, we want to replace them with dumpsters.

Upcycling plastic

Rimba owns a recycling and waste sorting station as well as two machines that turn plastic waste into gas.

Plastic reduction

To take our project a step further, we wish to distribute reusable cloth bags which will enable the villagers to do their grocery shopping without using plastic bags as well as reusable water bottles to reduce the amount of plastic cups and water bottles.

Environmental awareness

The recycling station will be used as education material by our Environmental House to sensitize children in the village. We also welcome groups of students from the area on education field trips.

Thanks to a partnership with the Indonesia association GetPlastic, Rimba was able to purchase two machines which turn plastic into fuel.

These machines operate with a pyrolysis system. Plastic is turned into gas, which is then cooled down and liquefied into fuel. One kilogram of plastic can generate 0.7 liters of fuel, which contains 20% of gasoline and 80% of diesel. We reuse this fuel to operate the machine.

A machine with a 5 kilogram capacity is in operation in Rimba. The goal is to collect all the plastic waste produced in the nearby tourist resorts.

Another machine with a 10 kilogram capacity is in operation in the village of Sungai Pinang in a small building built by Rimba. We employ Sisra, a villager, who is in charge of running the plastic recycling station.


7140€ have already been spent to purchase of the two machines, as well as the construction of the building and the awareness and training days.

To complete and securing the project, we still need 5000€ to provide for:

  • The salary of the employee at the recycling station
  • Plastic garbage bins to collect plastic waste
  • Plexiglas boxes to collect used batteries.
  • reusable cloth bags and water bottles for the villagers
  • The consumables
  • The up keeping of the building and materials

You can support our project !

They support this project

Butech Engineering
Stephane Bussing