Waste, trash, garbage
Traditionally, the Balinese throw away all kinds of packaging right after consumption. They don’t bin it, they just let it fall down at wherever they happen to be at. Home, road, ricefield, beach, wherever. It took us quite some time to realize why, and taking a closer look, it is logical.
Back in the days (the grandparents’ generation) all food used to be fresh from the fields or from the food stands, wrapped in banana leafs. The thrown away packaging was swiped to the side of the road or in a corner where it either rotted or was burnt. That did not matter, because it used to be all organic anyway. Nowadays, plastic or plastic-coated paper has replaced banana leafs, but the way of conduct has remained the same.
What they do today is as they used to do back in the days: either burning it and setting free fumes hazardous to the environment as well as to the lungs, or swiping it to the gullies just to get it out of sight, but in effect blocking the waterways with over-floodings as a logic consequence.
Just complaining about the situation makes no sense. The more you complain, the less will change. The way forward is making the locals aware of their actions and at the same time providing them with solutions, which are both effective and affordable. Therefore, the Balinese have to be made aware of the fact that plastic will never rot, so swiping it and letting it be will result in uncountable plastic bags or wrappings in the beautiful countryside.
Who makes them aware? Among others, we do. Our initiatives are a constructive effort aiming at all age groups and social backgrounds. We live in the village and have close contact with the locals, so us and our team raise the collective awareness of the Canggu community. We lead by example, and it feels good to see our efforts have a ripple effect on those around us.
All of a sudden we see parents telling their children to pick up the potato chips package they just let fall to the street, we see locals at the grocer’s refusing plastic bags for every little purchase, we see surfers and fishermen binning their butts instead of littering the beach, and we see less grey/blue smoke out of concrete bins designed for the burning of whatever they are fed with.
Garbage, as everywhere, plays an important role on Bali. We have joined a reliable organization called “Eco Bali” that provides ways of recycling as well as effective burning or disposal of separated waste. Not only do we separate plastic, paper, metal, glass and organic waste, but also do we encourage our guests to do so by providing bins for each type of waste.
Plastic is sold to Asian recycling companies for the production of other plastic products including garments. Paper is sold to local organizations who on-sell it to Java to be used for cardboard packaging. Metal is sold to Java for the production of whatever. Glass is recycled locally to produce other glass goods or pieces of glass art, bottles are given back to refill and resell. We collect organic kitchen waste and give it to the local community to feed their pigs, whereas organic garden waste is composted.
We see and feel our efforts being reinforced by the village community we live in. Realizing that our actions do have an effect makes us believe in a brighter and greener future for Canggu, and ultimately on Bali.