U.S. Agency for International Development announces new partnership with Prevented Ocean Plastic South East Asia to reduce Indonesia ocean plastic pollution, increase recycling in Road to G20 event

Today, at a Road to G20 event—held as Indonesia prepares to host this year’s G20 summit—the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program; impact-focused investment management firm, Circulate Capital; and Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia, a pioneering plastic recycling company developing sorting and collection infrastructure to underserved communities across Indonesia —announced a new partnership that will expand collection and recycling infrastructure in Indonesia to generate high-quality, traceable recycled plastic to enter into global markets. The partnership will help generate high quality, traceable feedstocks to help meet the growing demand for recycled content that is current challenged by limited market incentives, local systems, and infrastructure while strengthening coastal communities’ solid waste management systems.

The partnership will first focus on the city of Semarang, Indonesia—one of the largest cities in Java—which, like many cities is increasingly under pressure to reduce and recycle growing volumes of waste but does not have an economically or logistically feasible recycling system in place. By 2025, 68 percent of Indonesia’s more than 270 million people are expected to live in urban areas, where only half of waste is currently estimated to be collected. To address these challenges and establish a scalable model, the partnership will focus on expanding collection and recycling infrastructure, building local government capacity for solid waste management planning and management, and mobilizing and empowering the informal waste sector—whom are critical to local waste management but often under resourced and represented. A new facility where plastics will be aggregated, for example, is set to process about 30 tons of material per day and will help to provide new income for roughly 100 individuals—both employees and local waste collectors sourcing materials.

The partnership brings together the strengths of development agencies and private investment to bring coordinated technical expertise and blended financing to emerging companies that are best placed to develop new, innovative models for some of the most challenging aspects we face in stemming the tide of ocean plastic pollution: collection, aggregation, and recycling. Contributions from partners include: USAID Clean Cities, Blue Ocean’s technical assistance, drawing on more than 60 years of international solid waste management experience; Circulate Capital’s expertise in scaling innovation and driving growth; and Prevented Ocean Plastic South East Asia partners’, Polindo and Bantam Materials’, more than 20 years of experience on the ground in plastic collection and aggregation infrastructure, access to premium markets, and expertise in governance and traceability via the proven Prevented Ocean Plastic program.

Through the partnership, Prevented Ocean Plastic South East Asia aims to improve the recycling supply chain in Indonesia and provide high quality traceable recycled plastic to global markets that benefits all actors along the waste chain—from bottle collection to consumption.

Daniel Law, CEO, Polindo, said, “We are delighted that this new partnership will help us to scale up collection and recycling infrastructure in Indonesia through Prevented Ocean Plastic South East Asia, alongside our long-term partner Bantam Materials. Working with the Clean Cities, Blue Ocean program and Circulate Capital will enable us to develop the infrastructure to meet the growing demand for traceable, recycled plastic, while creating a reliable income for communities in Indonesia.”

Raffi Schieir, Director of Bantam Materials UK, said,USAID’s investment into Prevented Ocean South East Asia is testament to the success of the Prevented Ocean Plastic model, which has proven it can be replicated on any at-risk coastline to deliver impact at scale. We’re proud to be the first recycling programme to receive USAID investment and hugely look forward to seeing the social and environmental difference this partnership will make.”

For more information, please visit www.urban-links.org/ccbo

Written by Dominy Jones