Padangtegal Village, Bali: Citizen-Led Low Waste Model of how other Villages can do the Same
Padangtegal Village in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, is known for its unique waste management system. The village has implemented a zero-waste policy, which means that all of the waste produced in the village is recycled or composted. This is in contrast to the rest of Bali, where most waste is sent to landfills at best and, at worst, dumped in ravines where it is washed out to sea by winter monsoons.
In 2017, I had the good fortune to spend a month in Bali with my family. The people of Bali were welcoming and kind, and the cities we visited felt safe and friendly. But this was in the month of December, during the monsoon season, and as a result, the beaches were choked with plastic waste. Most of this plastic was washed down during the heavy rains from ravines adjacent to villages on the hillsides.
This shocking reality hit me hard. To see such a beautiful place so horribly polluted by a product that benefits so few is one of the reasons why I started what became Happy Eco News. Indonesia is the world’s third most populated country, and much of it is poor. There is very little assistance from the local government concerning waste management. Hotels and cities with beach-related tourism have teams with heavy equipment raking the beaches, but the actual management of the source of the pollution is ignored and largely left up to the residents to deal with.
See also: Quit Plastic with the Plastic Free Database.
Citizens Take Action
Padangtegal Village’s zero-waste policy was implemented in 2015. The policy was the brainchild of I Made Subrata, a resident who was concerned about the amount of waste that was being produced in the village. Subrata believed that the village could achieve zero waste if it implemented a small number of simple changes.
Padangtegal Village’s waste management system is based on the 3Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle. The village has a number of programs in place to reduce the amount of waste that is produced. For example, the village bans single-use plastics and encourages residents to bring their reusable bags when shopping. The village also has a number of recycling programs in place, and residents are encouraged to compost their food waste.
Padangtegal Village’s waste management system has been successful in reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfills. In 2018, the village only sent 5% of its waste to landfills, compared to the national average of 70%. The village’s waste management system has also helped to create jobs and boost the local economy.
Here are some of the specific ways in which Padangtegal Village and their waste management system differs from the rest of Bali:
- Zero-waste policy: Padangtegal Village has a zero-waste policy, which means that all of the waste produced in the village is recycled or composted. This is in contrast to the rest of Bali, where most waste is sent to landfills or discarded in ravines.
- Recycling programs: Padangtegal Village has a number of recycling programs in place, including programs for plastic, paper, metal, and glass. These programs are open to all residents of the village.
- Composting program: Padangtegal Village has a composting program which allows residents to compost their food waste. The compost is then used to fertilize the village’s gardens and crops.
- Education and outreach: Padangtegal Village has a strong education and outreach program that teaches residents the importance of waste reduction and recycling. The program also includes a number of activities for children, such as recycling workshops and composting demonstrations.
Good Ideas Spread
Padangtegal Village’s waste management system is a model for other communities in Bali and worldwide. The village has shown that it is possible to achieve zero waste with a combination of education, community engagement, and innovative waste management practices.
Several other villages in Bali are copying Padangtegal Village’s waste management system. In fact, there is now a network of zero-waste villages in Bali, and the number of villages adopting zero-waste policies is growing rapidly.
Some of the larger villages in Bali that have adopted zero-waste policies include:
- Tegaltirto Village: This village is located in the Gianyar Regency of Bali. It has a population of about 5,000 people and has been practicing zero waste since 2018.
- Seseh Village: This village is located in the Canggu subdistrict of Bali. It has a population of about 10,000 people and has been practicing zero waste since 2019.
- Sawan Village: This village is located in the Gianyar Regency of Bali. It has a population of about 7,000 people and has been practicing zero waste since 2020.
The success of these villages has shown that it is possible to achieve zero waste with a combination of education, community engagement, and innovative waste management practices. The success of these villages has also inspired other villages to adopt zero-waste policies.
I hope to revisit Bali someday, and when I do, I hope that the low-waste model created by Padangtegal Village has spread to other villages, maybe even other islands in Indonesia. Good ideas whose time has come often spread with minimal help, and this one seems to have the potential to do so in a big way.