Semarang, IDN Times – In a significant stride towards sustainable waste management, PT Prevented Ocean Plastic Indonesia (POPI) has inaugurated an Aggregation Center (AC) factory in Semarang, Central Java. This cutting-edge facility specializes in processing recycled PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) plastic bottles, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The objective? To recycle a substantial 700-800 tons of plastic bottle waste monthly.
Bringing Waste Collectors Closer for Recycling
The Semarang plant, in line with global standards, is the third of its kind after successes in Tangerang and Sukabumi. Future plans include AC facilities in Makassar (2023) and Samarinda (2024).
Daniel Lawrence, Commercial Director at Prevented Ocean Plastic Indonesia, highlights the AC’s vital role in uniting various stakeholders in plastic bottle collection. This includes scavengers, waste bank activists, and operators at the Waste Management Place for Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle (TPS3R) in Semarang and nearby areas.
The initiative has a dual focus: preventing plastic bottle waste from entering the oceans and alleviating the current recycling bottleneck in Indonesia. Limited recycling options have hindered the economic potential of plastic bottle waste.
Daniel elaborates, “POPI aims to establish 35 ACs nationwide over the next five years. This adaptable approach ensures that both business and social interests progress together. The main challenge has been the scarcity of recycling facilities. Consequently, plastic bottles, which have economic value, will no longer be undervalued.”
Exporting Recycled Products to Europe
Daniel added that the recycled plastic bottle waste will be exported as flakes to countries like England, Germany, and France.
“In those countries, the recycled materials are used again for making food packaging and food-grade drinking bottles. This year, we aim to enter the United States market,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator for Drinking Water and Sanitation at the Directorate of Housing and Settlements of the Ministry of National Development Planning (PPN/Bappenas), Nur Aisyah Nasution, mentioned that the AC in Semarang serves as a good example on a national scale and for others because the presence of recycling factories is still minimal, especially specific to PET plastic bottle waste.
“The connection of the aggregation center with TPS3R or waste collectors is a sign that recycling is in progress. Because the inter-system connection in waste management has not been maximized so far because one or two parts are missing or the services or facilities are not yet available,” she said.
PET Flakes at POPI Semarang
Enhancing Public Education on Waste
Aisyah hopes that the recycling factory established by POPI can enhance public education regarding the management of plastic bottle waste.
This is also part of the effort towards the government’s ambitious target to reduce the amount of waste entering landfills by 90 percent by 2045, as stipulated in the National Medium-Term Development Plan (RPJMN) 2005-2025.
“Talking about ocean plastic, it’s not just waste going into the sea, but also on land. The government aims for a maximum of only 10 percent of waste to go to landfills by 2045; the remaining 90 percent can go into recycling systems (like this) or be utilized for energy recovery or other products,” she concluded.