Country and Sub-regional Approach for Sound Waste Management

Waste Bank

Transition from Waste Management to Resource Management: Potential of Waste Bank System in Indonesian Cities


Learn to create and manage a Waste Bank in your community

  1. Introduction

It is estimated that the world generates 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) annually, and this amount is expected to reach 3.4 billion tonnes by 2050. In low-income countries, the waste collection rate is less than 39%. Only 4% of waste is recycled while 93% of waste is open dumped or burned. About 11 million tonnes of plastic waste enter our oceans every year due to inadequate waste management. In addition, 3.2% of global greenhouse gas (GHGs) emissions, which is about 1.6 billion CO2-equivalent, were generated from waste management in 2016. Without immediate actions to improve this sector, it is estimated that emissions related to solid waste will double by 2050


As such, it is crucial to address waste management when looking to tackle global challenges like climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. Waste management is also a cross-cutting issue that has an impact on whether national and local governments can achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. There must be a consensus on firm actions to transform the current linear economy, a so-called “take-make-waste” system, and change it into a circular economy, thereby achieving more sustainable and inclusive growth. We also need to shift our mindset from waste management to resource management.


Waste is a by-product of human activities. There is no waste in our natural ecosystem, as it operates based on circularity and symbiotic relationships. Thus, we need to transform our throwaway society into a more sustainable one, where waste is eliminated, resources are circulated and nature is regenerated. It is vital to design materials that can re-enter the economy once they reach the end of their use. This requires systemic change and innovation not only in the production, business and market models but also on the consumption side.  People can be motivated to change their lifestyles towards better resource management through the practice of sharing, reuse and repairing. Citizens should also be actively involved in waste separation at source, and be engaged in the recovery of materials for remanufacturing or recycling. Local and national governments as well as businesses are required to set up an effective system to collect waste materials that have been separated at source for proper treatment .  


To create such a system at the community or decentralised level, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (KLHK) introduced a Waste Bank system called Bank Sampah in Indonesia. Under this system, community members (customers) separate their waste at source and deposit any recyclable materials at the designated waste banks in the community. Transactions are recorded in a bank note held by customers or in lists kept by the respective waste banks. The waste banks sell the collected materials to intermediate recycling  collectors or a central waste bank when sufficient volume has accumulated for transportation. The incentive is in the form of money transferred to customers’ bank notes. They can then withdraw the money when needed, after a contribution of 15% for operational costs. According to KLHK, about 11,556 waste banks have been set up in 34 provinces covering 336 regencies or cities in the country. These community waste banks have contributed to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills by 2.7% at the national level in 2021.  


  1. Purpose

Policymakers and practitioners in other countries and cities have expressed a keen interest in learning from Indonesia’s experience of setting up a waste bank system. To this end, the IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET) joined with the Institut Teknologi Sepuluuh Nopember (ITS) Surabaya, Universitas Bandar Lampung and Griya Luhu, Bali to develop an eLearning course to provide detailed information on waste bank systems. The knowledge gained can be applied by developing countries to implement a community-based approach and move from waste management to resource management.  The online course covers the following key questions and gives users practical ways to tackle the issues:

  • What is Waste Bank System?
  • How does a waste bank system work?
  • What is needed to implement a waste bank system?
  • What are the key benefits of a waste bank system?
  • What are the key factors for its success?


  1. Target audience

The target audience for this eLearning course consists of local government policymakers and practitioners. Alongside provincial/state departments and national ministries, it is local governments that are responsible for developing and implementing waste management policies, programmes or projects in developing countries.  The course content will also be of interest to the following groups: 

  • NGOs and community-based service providers in waste management
  • Managers in private sector organisations tackling waste management
  • Faculty, researchers and students


Video modules (55 min in total)

Description of the modules

Module 1: Course Introduction: This module discusses the issue of inadequate waste management in developing countries, introduces users to key concepts related to solid waste management, including the 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle), and gives a brief introduction to the overall course and each of the topic-specific modules in this series.


  •  Module 2: What is a Waste Bank? This module gives a basic introduction to the waste bank system. It discusses the concept of waste banks, the history of their development in Indonesia, key benefits that can be achieved at different levels from the individual citizen to nationwide, and how they are positioned in global discussions on resource management and the 3Rs.   


  • Module 3: How Does a Waste Bank Work? In this module, users learn how the waste bank system works. The content looks in detail at the stages of waste – where it is generated, its journey to the waste bank, and from there to the recycler. Users will also learn about the flow of finances and other benefits to communities and individuals. This module identifies key roles involved in the waste bank system, as well as key factors for successful implementation. 


  • Module 4: How to Start a Waste Bank? This module explains the 3-step process of establishing a waste bank based on the experiences of a wide range of entities in society, including community-based organisations (CBOs), non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academic institutions (schools and universities) and private businesses in Indonesia. The process follows these three steps: how to approach the community; how to carry out the initial planning and technical training; and how to practically establish the waste bank system. It also points out some key challenges when implementing the system.   


  • Module 5: Conclusion: This module summarises key points learnt in the previous videos. It also motivates participants to be proactive in establishing waste banks in their local community, city or country, and provides contact details for IGES-CCET in case more information is required. 


  • Module 6: Case Study in Bali, Indonesia: This case study documents the experience of a digital waste bank system in Bali that was initiated by Griya Luhu, a local NGO. It describes how traditional waste bank systems can become more efficient and productive by applying digital technologies, such as a mobile app. 


Related documents:

1) Research paper "Moving from Waste to Resource Management: A Case Study of Lake Toba, Indonesia"

Author: Miwa Tatsuno, Premakumara Jagath Dickella Gamaralalage, Kazunobu Onogawa 

3) Research article "Transition from Waste Management to Resource Management: A Potential of Waste Bank Program in Indonesian Cities"

Author: Premakumara Jagath Dickella Gamaralalage, Yatsuka Kataoka, Eddy S. Soedjono*, Nurina Fitriani*

(*Department of Environmental Engineering, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Indonesia)

Contact Us 

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact 

IGES Centre Collaborating with UNEP on Environmental Technologies (CCET)

2108-11 Kamiyamaguchi, Hayama, Kanagawa, 240-0115 Japan

e-mail: [email protected]


2021 - present

Project area

Waste Management