Project STOP

Project STOP
Author: Avipsha Rayamajhi Date Created: 5/18/2023 6:41:18 PM

Project STOP (Stop Ocean Plastics) initiated in Indonesia aims to create a low-cost, circular, replicable and zero-leakage waste management system in collaboration with households, institutions, local initiatives and informal waste workers. It was piloted in April 2018 in Muncar, Indonesia and further expanded to Jembrana, Pasuruan and Banyuwagi. 

The project was introduced to address the issue of open and haphazard disposal of waste in the absence of a formal waste management system. It works in alignment to the principle of self-sufficiency and empowers locals to manage their own waste while enabling them to generate profit from it to make the working modality financially sustainable. It supports the local implementation through investments, technical expertise, waste system design, project management, capacity building and recycling/ reprocessing valorisation. 

The primary founders of the initiative are SystemIQ, an ecological business consulting organisation, and Borealis, a plastic production company. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NOVA Chemicals, Nestle, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, Bourouge and Siegwerk, Veolia, Sustainable Waste Indonesia, Schwarz and HP are other integral partners. The Ministry of Environment and Forest, Ministry of National Development Planning, Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing and local governments of the project sites also provide domestic support. 

It has four main objectives:

  • to achieve zero waste leakage into the environment through regular residential and industrial waste collection
  • create circular system by generating opportunities that create value from waste
  • achieve economic sustainability through local job opportunities
  • create conducive environment for tourism and fishing to flourish locally
Result Achieved

Until March 2023, the project has successfully achieved the following results:

  • 327,370 locals integrated into the formal waste management system
  • 333 full-time employment opportunities created
  • 47,428 tons of waste, which includes 5837 tons of plastics, collected
  • 5 waste processing plants in Muncar, Pasuruan, East Java, Jembrana and Bali completed with a total processing capacity of 150 tons per day
  • 37,366 tonnes of environment leakage (which includes 4658 tonnes of plastic leakage) stopped
  • Developed curriculum to train government and other stakeholders to set up and operate the waste management systems

Overall, the project has contributed towards socio-environmental and economic benefits to the project cities. Along with improvement in the local waste management which has succeeded in diverting waste from the oceans, it has also increased local employment opportunities. On a national scale, the project’s actions are aligned to contribute towards Indonesia’s commitment to reduce ocean plastic pollution by 70 percent by 2025. 

Challenges and Lesson Learned

Local communities are the primary stakeholders of the project since it intends to tackle the problem of waste management from the grassroot level. One of the major challenges lie in bringing attitudinal shift among the locals in how they view and manage waste. The project struggles to achieve complete participation from the local community and has achieved participation rate of 50 to 87 percent depending on the project sites as of now.

To successfully integrate the local communities into the process, the project has worked to first build and retain the trust of community leaders. They were taken to exposure visits to other cities with effective waste management to inspire and encourage them to motivate their local communities to work towards achieving the same. Further, community institutions such as women’s associations, fishing associations, religious leaders were effectively involved in the process by engaging them in door-to-door awareness, and other campaigns. 

Further, adding value to waste and promoting recycling is another integral part of the project. However, some types of plastic waste especially the ones with multi-layers are difficult to recycle and have low-value. Recycling solutions and infrastructures also require high-investment. Hence, the project has only sent slightly above 30 percent of non-organic recyclable materials for recycling from across the partner communities as of now. 

The other challenge lies in obtaining additional financial support to expand the project due to the high cost involved in building and operating waste management systems in Indonesia. 


The project takes a bottom-up approach and works in close collaboration with the local community. They are taken as equal partners and incentivized to build their ownership over the project. The profits from the collection and recycling trickles down towards the operations of the local waste system and to cover salaries of the workers, who are all locals of the project sites. 

Further, the existing waste management stakeholders such as local initiatives and informal waste workers are also integrated into the project’s business model. This has helped avoid duplication of activities and made the system more efficient, adding synergy to the existing efforts. 

Hence, the collaborative approach of the initiative is behind its success across all of the partner cities. The initiative exemplifies how national and international partners do not need to dictate local actions and can empower local communities and supplement their efforts through capacity building, technical and financial support. 

For successful replication of the project, we need to focus on gaining the trust of local communities and fully integrating them into the system by enabling their understanding and awareness of proper waste management. 

The kNOwWaste Knowledge Platform was developed through a Project Cooperation Agreement funding by UNEP on 2016. The platform provides data and information on holistic waste management to stakeholders in Asia and the Pacific region. The platform was developed with the following aims: generate and consolidate data or information on holistic waste management, transform data into easily comprehensible outputs for use by key stakeholders, map out and disseminate information on international waste management projects under the GPWM and UNEP projects as well as other international partners, and provide capacity building support through dissemination of data or information support for relevant stakeholders on holistic waste and waste management system.
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