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Challenging Garbage: Responsibilities and Possibilities

landfill in Bali with blue sky and garbage and waste

Challenging Garbage: Responsibilities and Possibilities

The three large land-fills in Bali have been burning. You may have seen this on social media or felt it in your throat. A snaking line of hundreds of trucks is winding its way to a temporary dumping spot near Pererenan. The garbage situation is not a good one, not in Bali and not really anywhere. Much has been aired on this subject so we are keeping this newsletter practical. As a business we take our responsibility to reduce garbage seriously and accept that we have a long way to go. Keeping the plastic at bay requires constant house-keeping.  This latest garbage disaster is a great push and reminder to keep trucking forward on this challenge. So let us tell you a little about what we do, what we have planned and what we need your help with. 

Return Me Campaign

Our Return Me! campaign really works well! We get an astounding number of bottles back. Many are returned to their origin to be refilled. It is so rewarding to watch the glass being returned and reused. We often imagine how awful it would be if it were plastic and heading for a land fill. So please keep it coming, it may seem a little gesture but collectively it’s a grand one. 

Banana Leaf Packing

We deliver all of our veggies wrapped in banana leaf. It may seem simple but there is a huge effort that goes into this. There are many hands involved in the wrapping. Decisions to be made on the technicalities. Numerous reminders and returns too as we still have suppliers who bring produce in plastic. Either because they forget or can’t get around it. Our progress is clear though, we are getting better all the time. 

Plastic Returns 

Two of our veggie suppliers use plastic boxes for their tender young greens. They both take them back. We have discussed options for keeping them out of plastic but the leaves are delicate and the waste is too high. So please return these boxes. Or if you are shopping in a store, bring your own container and leave the plastic with us, we know what to do with it!

Plastic to Glass Plans 

We have already encouraged quite a few producers to move from plastic to glass but it’s not that easy. There are regulatory and cost issues and glass is often not available in consistent sizes – or at all – making production and branding difficult.  However, we have made some good progress and we are planning to phase out plastics from some key product categories. Stay tuned! 

Organic Waste Management 

Luckily our online store has almost no waste because we order all your goods fresh daily upon receiving your orders. For our physical stores, we send our organic waste to Urban Composting and will shortly start working with Magi Farm. They use black soldier flies to eat food waste and process the larva as protein for animal feed. Our performance on organics is pretty solid! 

Paper and Carton

We give all of our paper and cartons to Pak Laura who sells it for re-use. The trick here is to separate the paper and carton and keep it in a condition where it can be collected and sold. It is incredible that by caring for the the paper as if it is very valuable it is possible to actually give the paper some value! If you have spare paper and carton at home, finding a local handler is one of the best local solutions. Stack it carefully, keep it dry, bundle it, give it away. 

Octopus pick up at Bali Direct Warehouse

Bali Direct Store tries where possible to go local and the garbage challenge is no exception. Not importing means it is possible to reduce plastic wrapping,  films, sprays and conservation materials of all kinds. A lot more needs to be done. Like our Return Me! Campaign, Pak Laura, Magi Farm and Urban Composting, there are local solutions. When we have more bottles than we can re-use we give them to Octopus, a local circular economy platform that is doing some good work. They are on a mission to give garbage, as well as people who work with garbage, value. So as the landfills burn and overflow, let’s shift gears and knuckle down on what’s possible to do, however small.


Information on products, sourcing, production, sustainability standards, certification, and much more for those who want to dive deeper.

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