Nur Yasmin, Jakarta – Indonesia is preparing to create a circular economy ecosystem where resources and waste are managed sustainably and targeting its full implementation by 2024.
To that end, Indonesia, Denmark and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have launched a new initiative to help Indonesia develop a maiden national strategy for the ecosystem, setting the country up to become the first in Southeast Asia to adopt it.
The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has received a funding of $540,000 from Denmark for the circular economy support initiative. The fund is streamed through UNDP as the facilitator.
The initiative will accelerate Indonesia's progress to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially the SDG12 on sustainable consumption and production.
"Transitioning to a circular economy is an important step toward creating sustainable development. I am very happy that Indonesia is taking this initiative to formulate a circular economy strategy, and I am glad that Denmark and UNDP can support this first step in the transition," Denmark's Environment Minister Lea Wermelin said in Jakarta on Monday.
The collaboration has also resulted in a circular economy workshop for representatives of the private sector and non-governmental organizations to discuss five potential sectors where the circular economy ecosystem might work best in Indonesia – food and beverage, textiles, construction, wholesale and retail trade, and electronics.
"This year we're analyzing the economic, environmental and social potentials of circular economy. We will then develop a national action plan, projects and partnerships, and start its full implementation in 2024," Bappenas environmental affairs director Dr. Medrilzam said on Monday.
He said Indonesia had already made some progress toward sustainable development but now the government wants to develop an integrated ecosystem for the circular economy.
"Everyone has been doing it on their own, nothing is integrated. We will now involve multi-stakeholders, including businesses and industries. We also need consumers to learn about the concept as well," Medrilzam said.
According to him, the first thing the government has to do is improve public awareness of the circular economy ecosystem.
"There will be challenges. We need to improve public understanding of circular economy. Most of the time, people say it's all about waste management and recycling. The truth is it goes way beyond that," he said.
Medrilzam said all possible stakeholders in the circular economy ecosystem will have to contribute to find the best strategy to adopt it.
"For industries, we need to find a balance between economic benefit and common interest. The direction we're going for is green industry," he said.
On waste, the Bappenas director said plastic packaging still makes up 62 percent of plastic use in Indonesia. Currently, only 10 percent of plastic packaging waste is recycled. In 2019, Indonesia produced 4.5 million tons of plastic packaging waste, and is expected to produce 6.2 million tons annually by 2030.
Food waste in Indonesia was at 60 million tons last year and may reach 93 million tons a year by 2030.
The circular economy system is already on its way to full implementation in Denmark and the Netherlands and in several other countries in Europe.