On January 24, 2024, in the heart of Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Sudirman, a 34-year-old lecturer in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Mataram, beheld the concerning state of Indonesia's polluted shores.
“The sight of Indonesia's polluted shores saddens me. It was the opposite of my childhood memories of the clean shores I enjoyed. I worry that future generations may never witness the extraordinary beauty of Indonesia's shores due to human carelessness,” he said.
Driven to preserve the beauty of Lombok, Sudirman took a step forward by establishing Conplas – a waste management startup in Lombok that focuses on transforming non-recyclable waste into valuable products. As a Founder of Conplas and a lecturer, Sudirman realized his dual roles could create an impactful action through research on innovative waste recycling technologies along with fostering awareness of the people of Lombok to preserve the environment.
Conplas specializes in converting plastic waste into durable products known as eco-blocks and eco-grease. These eco-blocks, comprising non-recycled plastic, serve as environmentally friendly infrastructure materials like paving and pot blocks. Eco-grease, on the other hand, comes from processed plastic waste and serves as a solid lubricant, commonly used as a material for vehicles.
Employing his scientific expertise, Sudirman tackled the plastic waste issue plaguing Lombok's coastline. By creating non-recyclable waste into useful products, Conplas actively reduces waste, aiming to extend the life cycle of products – contributing to SDG 12 on Responsible Production and Consumption and exemplifying the principles of a circular economy.
“I realized that one of the challenges I had to face was finding ways to increase public awareness towards the plastic waste issue,” said Sudirman.
To address the challenge of public apathy towards plastic waste, Sudirman devised a "reward system" incentivizing communities to properly sort their waste. This initiative not only acknowledges waste contributors but also empowers 15 freelance waste processing service women, fostering economic opportunities and social inclusivity.
Conplas' efforts have revolutionized waste management practices, leading to a 40% increase in income generated through waste bank contributions. Sudirman has collaborated with waste banks to leverage Conplas' recycling endeavors by transforming non-recyclable plastic into valuable resources. In this collaborative initiative, the waste bank receives compensation ranging from IDR 1,000.00 to IDR 2,000.00 per kilogram, fostering economic empowerment and aligning with the pursuit of SDG 8 to promote Decent Work and Economic Growth.
Seeking broader insights, Sudirman and his team embarked on a transformative journey with the Blue Finance Accelerator (BFA) program. Over six months, they underwent intensive training, delving into business intricacies, blue-sector dynamics, and Impact Measurement and Management (IMM).
Reflecting on the BFA experience, Sudirman noted its profound impact on Conplas, enhancing their knowledge, confidence, and networking opportunities within the blue sector.
“Demo day left a lasting impression on me. I presented Conplas’ business, engaged with fellow startups and SMEs, and participated in matchmaking sessions with investors. This enhanced our business capacity, fostering the public’s trust in Conplas,” Sudirman remarked.
The BFA program has facilitated significant collaborations for Conplas, including partnerships with government agencies and schools for waste management workshops in Lombok. Sudirman anticipates continued growth in workshop participation, further raising awareness of waste reduction through Conplas' initiatives.
While initially focused on Lombok, Sudirman and the Conplas team aim to expand their impact to other Indonesian coastal islands, such as Gili Trawangan, Gili Air, and Gili Meno. Their goal is to mitigate Indonesia's status as the world's second-largest contributor to global waste, supporting efforts to combat marine pollution outlined in SDG 14 on Life Below Water.
Sudirman envisions Conplas as Indonesia's premier sustainable waste management enterprise. With guidance from the BFA, he is confident in achieving their objectives of waste management education and innovative recycled permanent-use materials production.
Experience their dedication to sustainable development and learn about their environmental and social impact at https://conplas.id/about-us/.
About Blue Finance Accelerator 2023:
The blog article is a part of #BlueFinanceAccelerator2023 Human-interest Story series. BFA is a six-month accelerator program that provides capacity development and support mechanisms for business models and impact measurements for startups and SMEs operating in blue sectors. The program was launched by UNDP through the ASSIST JP, supported by the Joint SDG Fund, in cooperation with the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, UNIDO, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Instellar as the implementing partner.
Written by Belinda Nur Fadillah & Agnes Milka Kurniawan (Innovative Financing Lab, UNDP Indonesia) (belinda.fadillah [at] undp.org & agnes.kurniawan [at] undp.org)
Edited by Enggi Dewanti & Elizabeth Gabriela
Media Engagement: Devi Nugraha & Enggi Dewanti
(devi.nugraha [at] undp.org & enggi.dewanti [at] undp.org)
Originally published by UNDP Indonesia
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