As EPR schemes in Indonesia evolve and initiatives develop with the local industry, business opportunities remain wide open.
Plastic credit is one of the potential global waste management support systems. WWF defines "plastic credit" as a transferable unit that represents a certain amount of plastic collected and recycled from the environment. Companies that want to take responsibility for the plastic they release into the environment by removing the same amount of plastic from the environment can use Plastic Credit. Company needs to purchase a certain amount of credit equivalent to the amount of plastic waste they wanted to collect and recycle by a certain standardized party. Verra, an environmental organization that operates standards in climate action and sustainable development is the key actors developing this system. At the moment, the only Indonesian waste reduction programs that are registered in the plastic credit system for Verra's plastic reduction program are the Reciki: Plastic Waste Valorization Project. This program is a collaboration with Danone-AQUA, where they collect and sort plastic waste and then mechanically recycle or reuse it using material recovery facilities in East Java and Bali. Similar concepts have also been adopted by Waste4Change through its Waste Credit service.
The plastic credit program, with its rigorous certification process, is expected to be able to improve the quality of the collection and sorting process of recyclable plastic waste, the development of new municipal infrastructure, and even lead the procurement of new recycling technologies and/or scale-up existing ones. More plastic credit programs should greatly support the implementation of EPR in Indonesia.
Food grade is another constructive challenge and opportunity for the packaging recycling industry. It is a standard for food equipment consisting of non-toxic material that is safe for food production, does not alter the taste or quality of the food and does not cause health problems. One Indonesian product that has been marketed with a food grade system is the AQUA Life packaging product, which is made from 100% recycled materials. This demonstrates the opportunity for other companies to continue to innovate in circular packaging.
Low economic valued waste processing is also a potential business that needs to be developed in Indonesia. As Indonesia generates a substantial amount of mixed waste and small-sized plastics with little economic value, processing waste into upcycled and marketable products such as interlocking building blocks, parking bumpers, pallets, and bollards should be considered as an innovative solution. Reflecting on the initiatives of other countries, all types of plastic could be processed into high quality products. For example, through the PLASTICPeople service, more than 6,000 tons of plastic has been turned into building materials and home decorations with high economic value. Biofabrik, a German company operating in Indonesia, has been providing the service of processing waste plastic or waste oil into synthetic fuel. In this regard, Indonesia needs more sophisticated infrastructure that can maximize the waste management process, more specifically for recycling.
In addition, the use of waste as decoration can serve as inspiration for the development of integrated eco-preneurs in tourism areas. Implementations can include eco-farming, eco-digital, and eco-education. In Indonesia, a similar concept has been developed by the producers of the Pocari Sweat brand, PT Amerta Indah Otsuka. The company has launched the Otsuka Blue Planet program, which not only aims to reduce the composition of plastic in its packaging but also reaches out to villages and schools to share knowledge and create communities that can manage their own waste, including the use of waste as decoration in the area.
Measures initiated by producers show that the progress of the EPR scheme in Indonesia is moving forward. Producers need to actively explore the business opportunities that are still widely available for continuous development. Cooperation with countries that have actively implemented EPR with advanced systems and technology must also be explored to improve the quality of the industry and make a significant impact on the environment.