5 Environmental Startups in Indonesia on Waste Management

Are you familiar with evironmental startup? Like many countries in the world, Indonesia is currently battling a critical environmental threat, waste generation. According to the World Bank, Indonesia produces around 42 million tonnes of urban waste and around 7.8 tonnes of plastic waste every year. These wastes are generated from both production and consumption activities. Unfortunately, most of that generated waste still has not been managed properly. According to the National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP), about 60% of waste in Indonesia is poorly managed.

Waste generation is always linear with economic growth, urbanization, and population growth. Hence, countries with rapid economic and population growth tend to generate more waste. As Indonesia currently has a 273.5 million population in 2020 with constant growth, its waste generation is expected to rise significantly in the future. Unfortunately, public environmental awareness is relatively low. According to a survey by Waste4Change in 2019, only 50.2% of households in Indonesia sort out their waste. Beyond that, about 40% of Indonesia’s urban citizens still have no access to basic waste collection services.

To respond to this threat, various environmental startups that focus on waste management have been established in Indonesia. Their business models generally focus on simplifying the recycling value chains with digital solutions to help small waste collectors’ activities. Their apps can help the informal waste collectors get to the producers easily. Other than that, these startups also improve the network on the recycling system by connecting various stakeholders.

In the past decade, some waste management startups have come to the surface. Check out these 5 fast-growing environmental startup landscapes in Indonesia that you should look forward to.

1. Waste4Change

Waste4Change is one of the first environmental startups that focuses on waste management in Indonesia. Waste4Change was established in 2014 with the name PT Wasteforchange Alam Indonesia. Its services range from research on waste management,  campaign, and education on waste,  waste collection, EPR service for businesses, and used cooking oil deposits.

Waste4Change is a fast-growing startup. By now, Waste4Change has managed 5.400 tonnes of waste and has operated in 10 big cities in Indonesia. According to Idnfinancials, recently, they received funding from East Ventures, SMDV, and Agate in an undisclosed amount. With these capital injections, Waste4Change plans to accelerate its activity by managing 2,000 tonnes of waste per day by 2024. Moreover, they have worked with 253 client companies and conducted 273 projects.

2. MallSampah

Established in 2015, MallSampah is a waste management startup that aims to empower waste collectors in Indonesia. Most of the recycling activities in Indonesia are conducted by the informal sectors that we call scavengers. These scavengers are a vulnerable group due to their lack of access to education, having difficult access to the recycling network, and minimum financial help.

To solve those problems, MallSampah developed a network of waste pickers in digital recycling infrastructure and offers waste management services for households, businesses, corporates, and the government. MallSampah’s services range from turning waste into digital currency and building partnership programs for collectors, waste banks, agents, warehouse providers, and final warehouse contributors.

Currently, MallSampah has acquired more than 30 thousand users, cooperating with more than 500 local collectors, and their founder received an award as the Winner of Indonesia Green Award 2018 by the executive millennium category. In terms of funding, they are helped by startup accelerator, Indigo, and venture capital, Quest Venture which contributed a minority of holdings in MallSampah.

3. GammaWaste

GammaWaste was established in 2020, they are considerably new in the environmental startup landscape. GammaWaste operates by getting plastic waste from local waste collectors and turning them into daily lifestyle products such as furniture, decoration, building material, and energy resources. These products are developed with minimum additional materials to ensure their sustainability.

By now, they have developed 6 commercial products from waste such as ashtray, barstool, flower vase, and coaster. Beyond that, they have recycled more than 270kg of plastic. Although they are still new and have a limited business model, they are a potential environmental startup to look forward to.

4. Octopus

Octopus is an environmental startup that was established in 2020 and focuses on building a circular economy platform to track and collect waste. Their unique point is using AI technology to create an EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) strategy for companies. They also have a take-back program, a waste deposit system where consumers must pay fees when they purchase a product and get refunded once it’s recycled.

Currently, they have partnered with more than 9 thousand local collectors and have acquired more than 35 thousand users in their app. Their notable partners are Aqua and Kimberly & Clarks. Although they are still new, their EPR service for companies is an interesting contribution to the environmental startup landscape.

5. Jangjo

Similar to GammaWaste and Octopus, Jangjo was established in 2020. Jangjo is a waste management platform and facilitator that aims to decentralize waste sorting and efficient recycling. Their main operation is Jangjo Collect, where they collect waste from various sources such as individual households, residents, and businesses.

Currently, they have sorted 121 tonnes of waste, recycled 24 tonnes of paper waste and 1,603 liters of cooking oil. Since they are new, their business model is still in development. However, they have the potential to accelerate their operation, especially on their cooking oil recycling.

Those are some of the fast-growing environmental startups in Indonesia that focus on waste management. Are you familiar with those startups? Since most of them are relatively new, they are challenged by the lack of environmental awareness in society which means they have limited consumers. Other than that, they also face other challenges such as high recycling technology cost, branding strategy, and limited business model.

Are you interested in building an environmental startup?

We are here to help you navigate the never-ending challenges in building a startup. Gear Up is a startup brainstorming partner in Indonesia that provides one-on-one and catered support for the chosen startups in our network. We can help you find the correct business model, funding, improve your internal organization, pivot, launch your product, and scale up your startup. Join us to begin your startup journey.

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