Innovative Planning and Urban Development in Bandar Lampung
A New Lens on Waste Management Practices
By Maurice Shawndefar and Priska Marianne
“How can we reduce the city’s landfill space? How can we process 80 percent of our waste? How can we develop a better approach to waste separation and distribution?” These are some of the questions asked during the Innovative Planning and Urban Development workshop for a cleaner Bandar Lampung.
Last year, the United Nations in Indonesia organized a 3-day workshop in collaboration with the municipality of Bandar Lampung and local partners to ideate, develop, and test prototypes that can improve waste management conditions across the city. The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) consisted of several UN Agencies including UNDP, UNICEF, and UN Volunteers (UNV) used their expertise in different fields to complement this project from various angles. This initiative, Innovative Planning and Urban Development (iPUD), is intended to address urban challenges in collaboration with the city government.
UNCT was asked by the government to focus their efforts on improving waste management across the city. In the following weeks, UNDP organized a focus group discussion (FGD) to better understand the core challenges around waste management. The discussion was attended by various stakeholders from different backgrounds including government, business, non-profit, academia, and community volunteers. The FGD supported UNCT efforts in specifying the scope of iPUD, and they included:
- Establishing recycling and composting centers;
- Increasing public awareness around the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, and recycle);
- Improving the sustainability models of waste banks in Bandar Lampung.
Following the FGD, UNCT assessed some of the issues around waste management in Bandar Lampung. The team conducted an eight-week field study to identify local partners, identify a project location for the piloting of the prototypes, identify the target groups, collect nearly 700 perception surveys, conduct in-depth interviews, and map out the existing business model for waste banks in Bandar Lampung.
In the weeks leading up to the workshop, UNCT had identified Kecamatan Rajabasa (Rajabasa District) as the project location, and the team had established the necessary partnerships that have been critical to the project’s success. Moreover, in collaboration with local partners, UNCT targeted small and large businesses, households, and university and elementary students in collecting perception surveys and conducting in-depth interviews in Rajabasa.
The research indicated that although a majority of respondents know how to recycle (59 percent), only 35 percent of the respondents actually recycle waste. This gap can be reduced by increasing access to recycling facilities and increasing public awareness and engagement to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste. The good thing is that the data also suggested that a large proportion of the population believes that they must do more and are interested to support such efforts in ensuring responsible consumption and increasing the recycling rate across the city.
To better understand the existing waste bank initiatives in Bandar Lampung, we collected quantitative and qualitative data from relevant actors on the ground. Additionally, UNCT partnered with SMASH, a nation-wide web-based and mobile application for waste bank management to obtain real-time data on the number of registered waste banks, transactions, and collected recyclable materials. This database revealed how waste banks in Bandar Lampung compare to waste banks across Indonesia. Not to our surprise, the level of activity in Bandar Lampung is well below the national average - the waste bank transaction rate in the city is currently below 1 percent. This presents UNCT with an opportunity to increase the city’s recycling rate by enhancing the capacity of waste banks.
In addition, the in-depth interviews helped the team better identify and specify gaps and patterns in terms of social behavior and habits that otherwise would have been overlooked. The cleaning staff at University of Lampung (UNILA) indicated that ‘despite the separate recycling bins, the students and faculty do not use the proper bins in separating their waste’. A waste bank operator from the city informed us that ‘people tend to shy away from bringing their recyclable goods to waste banks due to the social stigma attached to waste collection’.
Human-Centered Design Workshop
The complex nature of these challenges requires an integrated approach that can improve conditions from various angles. Consequently, UNCT organized a human-centered design workshop - a specific approach to problem solving policymaking that focuses directly and almost entirely on the users, hence ‘human-centered’- and gathered thirty participants working on waste-related issues from government, the private sector, non-profit organizations, UNILA, waste banks, and community volunteers. The participants were divided into five groups, and each was presented with a specific project scope to tackle. Based on the three identified project scopes above, the five groups were categorized as such:
- Group 1: establishing a recycling and composting center at UNILA;
- Group 2: establishing a recycling and composting center at a peri-urban women’s farming group;
- Group 3: increasing public awareness around the 3Rs at SD Al Kautsar;
- Group 4: increasing public awareness around the 3Rs at SMA 13; and
- Group 5: improving the sustainability models of waste banks.
In facilitating the workshop, UNCT collaborated with Mirum Agency, a leading experience design agency who specializes in innovation and human-centered design. The workshop was strategically designed to develop prototypes that could become the drivers for change in Bandar Lampung. These prototypes were then presented to government officials including Assistant II, Mr. Pola Pardede, who also made closing statements on 15 December.
During the three days, the groups went through intensive activities to develop prototypes within their respective project scopes. In enhancing the sustainability of waste banks, one of the prototypes works to develop a point system in collaboration with the city government. The point system would work to incentivize citizens to deposit their recyclable goods at waste banks by offering benefits. This was a creative alternative to government subsidies. Moreover, the group conducted an initial testing on the integration of SMASH in reducing the cost of information, transaction, as well as the introduced point system.
Another developed prototype focused on the promotion of responsible consumption and waste management at schools. The objective here was to educate and increase awareness around the benefits of 3Rs in changing minds and behaviors. This prototype was simulated at SD Al Kautsar and SMA 13 to better assess student engagement and interest. The prototype, Annual Waste Hunt Day, would consist of school-wide daily activities and competition on recycling with a focus on plastic bottles and food packaging. The simulation demonstrated willingness on the part of students to actively participate in promoting responsible waste practices through fun and engaging activities.
The field testing at UNILA revealed several findings of current conditions including lack of waste storage available on campus, lack of information regarding the 3Rs as part of the university’s solid waste management, and lack of commitment from relevant stakeholders. These findings further shaped the design of the new waste management system at UNILA in promoting the 3Rs and processing 80 percent of the university’s organic waste.
In the following weeks, we will work closely with partners including UNILA and Mirum Agency in piloting the developed concepts. UNCT will continue to strengthen its partnership with the city government through monitoring and reporting of this phase. If the results of the pilots are satisfactory, we will work with the government to scale up the prototypes at the city-level.
Moreover, the team has visited three of the most advanced waste banks across Indonesia and will be developing a report to highlight these best practices and how city governments can support local waste banks in increasing recycling rates. The three examples, Makassar, Malang, and Surabaya have developed their waste bank models from different approaches. In Makassar, there is strong government ownership that supports the sustainability of the program; in Malang, a private company was established through engagement with the city government to manage and operate waste bank units across the city; and in Surabaya, a local non-governmental organization is the responsible party for managing the waste bank center in the city. These three cases will be highlighted in a report to support governments in identifying the best and most appropriate approach for supporting waste banks in their cities.