Kamis, 30 Maret 2023

Collaboration Key to Tackling Plastic Pollution

15 Jan 2023 | 22:58 WIB
(Photo Courtesy of Danone Indonesia)
(Photo Courtesy of Danone Indonesia)

Jakarta. Cross-sectoral collaboration is one of the keys to tackling plastic pollution, as seen in bottled water company Danone-AQUA’s efforts to safeguard the planet.

The Environment Ministry in 2019 issued a decree on PROPER — a corporate performance rating program that assesses whether companies in Indonesia embrace sustainable industrial operations. 

Danone-AQUA is one of the PROPER award frequenters.

According to a press release, Danone-AQUA has received the gold-category PROPER award from the Environment Ministry for six years. AQUA’s plant in Mambal Bali took home a Gold Proper in 2022; its fifth time winning the said award.

“Hopefully, the private sector can keep this up and become an agent of change to empower the local community,” Vice President Ma’ruf Amin said at the recent awarding ceremony.

Danone Indonesia corporate communications director Arif Mujahidin highlighted that a cross-sectoral collaboration could give a step forward towards a circular economy and integrated waste management.

“We realize that this has become a shared challenge that is truly complex. This calls for cross-sectoral collaboration and tangible contribution from all parties. We believe that we can achieve the government’s target with great synergy, comprehensive plastic waste management, a qualified management ecosystem, and active participation from all parties,” Arif said. 

In 1993, Danone-AQUA pioneered the plastic waste recycling initiative AQUA Peduli. The company collected post-consumer plastic packaging to be crushed into flakes and exported overseas. 

In 2006, Danone-AQUA launched its sustainability initiative umbrella AQUA Lestari.

In addition to PROPER, Danone-AQUA took home the most awards at the 2022 Green Industry award hosted by the Industry Ministry. The award recognizes companies that have succeeded in implementing environmental-friendly and sustainable industrial operations.

“We appreciate the producers, among others Danone-AQUA, who have given a positive response to the 2018 Presidential Decree on Addressing Marine Plastic,” Ignatius Warsito, the ministry’s acting director general for chemical, pharmaceutical, and textile industry, said at the G20 Forum last November.

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 Danone-AQUA aims to collect more plastic packaging than it produces by 2030. This aligns with Indonesia's goal for a 70-percent reduction in marine debris by 2025, according to Arif.

Danone-AQUA has set up Samtaku, an integrated waste management site spanning 5,000 square meters, in Jimbaran, Bali. The site is a collaboration between Danone-AQUA and waste management firm Reciki, with the support of local governments, other stakeholders, and the community. Danone-AQUA reported that Samtaku could now process 120 tons of waste a day, making it Bali’s largest waste management site.

The mineral water giant works alongside the United Nations Development Plan (UNDP) and the national coordination team of marine debris to launch Gradasi —a waste collection initiative involving places of worship— in April 2021. 

As of last year, Gradasi has collected 90 tons of waste by involving 100 mosques, 35 churches, 92 schools, and 98 Islamic boarding schools in Java, Gorontalo, Lombok, and Labuan Bajo. Gradasi plans to involve more places of worship such as temples and monasteries in Indonesia.

“Gradasi is an effective collaboration involving the government, religious leaders, the community, and the private sector, namely Danone-AQUA. This cross-sectoral collaboration will pave the way for an integrated waste management ecosystem that can reduce marine debris,” Kanni Wignaraja, the assistant secretary-general, assistant administrator, and director of the regional bureau for Asia and the Pacific at UNDP, said.

Likewise, Rosa Vivien Ratnawati, the director-general for waste management at the Environment Ministry, said that having mosques and churches in Gradasi would help raise people’s awareness of waste management.

 In 2018, Danone-AQUA launched the 100-percent recyclable AQUA Life and a returnable glass bottle for the tourism sector. The company’s latest innovation is the 600-ml AQUA with 100-percent recycled and recyclable plastic packaging. It also introduced the 220-ml AQUA Mini, which comes without additional labeling or straw, and is entirely recyclable. 

The company has also used reusable gallons to minimize waste generation since 1983. Thanks to this business model, Arif said 70 percent of the company’s gallons have become “entirely circular”.

A study by economic think-tank LPEM FEB UI reported that Danone-AQUA’s #BijakBerplastik (‘Plastic Wise’) campaign boosted the recycling rate by 17 percent while slashing the amount of waste that remains in the landfills by 14 percent. 

 The campaign helped reduce plastic waste that ended up in the sea. According to the study, #BijakBerplastik is estimated to also reduce the volume of waste burned, thus preventing the emission of 36,369 tons of carbon dioxide. The refillable gallons have also helped reduce up to 770,000 tons of potential waste generation and 1.6 million tons of carbon emission a year.

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