Jakarta. As Bali continues its plight against plastic pollution, Avani Eco is setting the standard for completely sustainable and eco-friendly products.
The social enterprise housed in Bali aims to provide eco-friendly alternatives to products used daily by locals and tourists including takeaway containers, straws and coffee cups.
Avani Eco cofounder and chief green officer, Kevin Kumala, said Bali is only the tip of the iceberg but the perfect starting point in promoting fully sustainable products.
"When you talk about Bali, of course you talk about its beaches," Kevin said.
"It's happening in front of our very eyes how terrible the plastic epidemic taking place in our beaches has become."
From January to October 2016, Avani Eco successfully replaced over 130 metric tons of hazardous materials with eco-friendly alternatives.
However, Kevin said this is not enough with more than 3,500 tons of plastic waste thrown away daily in Bali.
"In a perfect utopia, the government needs to do something about this."
"The Indonesian government needs to be educated in terms of the availability of technology in reducing plastic waste," he said.
One of Avani’s most popular inventions is an eco-bag made from cassava root, which can be completely dissolved in boiling water — and still safe to drink.
The bag is a sustainable alternative to classic "degradable" bags which hugely contribute to plastic pollution through a phenomenon called micro-plastic pollution.
"These degradable plastic bags will eventually become one to two millimeter fragments which … then have the potential to go into your water sources or inadvertently be eaten up by livestock which in turn will be consumed by humans as we sit on top of the pyramid of food chain," Kevin said.
As the second biggest marine pollutant in the world, Indonesia is yet to implement government subsidies for sustainable products.
Kevin said he believes education and increased awareness on the issue combined with government subsidies for sustainable products would help in combating plastic pollution throughout Indonesia.
Indonesia has been the world's second largest plastic garbage sea polluter after China, according to US-based Jambeck Research Group.
In 2015, the group calculated Indonesia threw at least 187.5 million tons of plastic waste into the sea, while China threw at least 263 million tons.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry predicted there are one million plastic bags being used every minute, and half of them are used only once. Only 5 percent end up in a recycle bin.