Sustainable Development through Circular Economy in Indonesia

As the world is becoming aware about the depletion of finite resources and uncontrollable waste that could resulted in the destruction of ecosystem, we are looking for a comprehensive solution for a sustainable development. In the recent years, there have been a lot of debate about the importance of circular economy for small and large business around the worlds.

According to Martin Geissdoerfer, circular economy is a regenerative system in which resource input and waste, emission, and energy leakage are minimised by slowing, closing, and narrowing energy and material loops. Different from the conventional linear economy, where the flow of production end with waste thrown away, the circular economy try maximizing the utilization of production waste by reusing, remanufacturing and recycling the waste, making the flow of production circular.

As the world is starting to take notice of the concept of circular economy, so does Indonesia. This year the country held Circular Economy Forum for the second time.  The forum invited businessman and innovators throughout Indonesia to participate in creating innovative model of businesses and works with the theme of sustainability and waste management through circular economy.

This type of forum will help getting the businesses familiar with the concept of circular economy and encourage them to implement circular economy that emphasizes the efficiency of resources in Indonesia. However, for a circular economy to be fully implemented in Indonesia, it will require real action and commitment from all the stakeholders.

The government, businesses, civil societies and other stakeholder must come up with innovative ideas to design materials, products, systems and business models that are in line with circular economy concept, especially since Indonesia is facing crisis of waste management.

Based on the data by European Commission (2017), There are currently over 2.12 billion tons of waste produced every year with Indonesia contributes around 65.8 million tons of waste. Sixteen percent of the waste produced in Indonesia are plastic waste. Indonesia even become the world’s largest plastic waste producer after China. The main reasons for the large number of plastic waste in Indonesia is suspected due to insufficient plastic waste utilization.  More than half of the plastic waste end up thrown away to final disposal site.

One of the main objective of circular economy is to change the way the businesses see waste from an invaluable thing into a potential commodity. According to Muhammad Khayam from Directorate of Upstream Chemical Industry of Ministry of Industry, the industry sector in the country is having problem with the shortage of raw materials. The circular economy could be just the right answer for Indonesia, not only to solve the plastic waste problem, but also can help fulfil the needs of raw materials through waste processing.

The government is on its way to maximize the utilization of waste to manage the waste and find alternative to the finite resources. Indonesia is currently constructing Waste Power Plant (PLTSa) with the cooperation of Japan, who has experience in building more than 1,000 Waste Power Plant. The collaboration with Japan is expected to accelerate the development of waste-based energy infrastructure projects. The PLTSa will be built in 12 areas which include:  Jakarta, Tangerang, South Tangerang, Bekasi, Bandung, Semarang, Surakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, Denpasar, Palembang, and Manado.

 Indeed seeking cooperation with countries who are more familiar with the concept of circular economy will bring several benefits toward Indonesia who are still new to the concept.  On October this year, the delegation of European Union consisting of 50 companies will visit Indonesia to offer a cooperation in circular economy, in addition to exploring opportunities to increase cooperation in the industrial sector.

Businesses in Indonesia need to reinvent themselves by finding ideas and opportunities from circular economy. The implementation of circular economy will deliver economic, social and environmental benefits towards Indonesia, ensuring the sustainable development for generation to come.


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