Building The Innovation Ecosystem: Our First Zero Waste Meet Up

Zero Waste experts and social entrepreneurs that aim to radically reduce single-use plastics at the source gathered in Bandung, West Java for our first zero waste meet-up in February 2019. We revealed chances and challenges, and developed ideas to scale the impact of the zero waste movement and social entrepreneurs.

The meet up attracted 20 entrepreneurs, experts and innovators in Indonesia’s burgeoning zero waste scene, showing that there is a healthy organic enthusiasm already beginning to emerge in Indonesia!

Planting the Seeds of Cooperation

We’d met to discuss the challenges of building an ecosystem for zero waste in Indonesia, yet almost immediately we were greeted with some unexpected, but welcome success.

Though zero waste businesses are starting to pop-up around the country, many meetup participants didn’t know of each other’s existence. As these like-minded entrepreneurs exchanged contacts and discussed business models, we saw the seeds of early cooperation planted. This sense of community and collaboration will be key in fostering an ecosystem for zero waste businesses to flourish. It was inspiring to see things get started from the word go.

After a group lunch with plenty of time for networking, Anne from Enviu gave a keynote on the Zero Waste Living Lab and its theory of change, Prigy from ecoton shared the importance of activism to advocate for skipping disposable diapers, Sizi from Evoware built the bridge of social entrepreneurship and communication to promote zero waste awareness and the market. Lisa from Nazava showcased the impact and growth potential of social entrepreneurship and Rendy concluded with a visionary, minimalistic future vision of a zero waste raw house.

Solution Based Problems
After a short break for coffee the group got down to discussing what they saw as the obstacles to the growth of zero waste businesses on Java.

Though entrepreneurs often identified issues unique to their particular solution several common obstacles were defined by the group. The ubiquity of plastics, and the lack of any prominent alternative was a key takeaway. Importantly it was recognized that this was not due to the rejection of zero waste alternatives but rather the challenge to keep up with the low price of plastic packaging and still limited awareness of consumers.

Crucially these were not seen as roadblocks by the group, but as opportunities to implement practical solutions. Notably the need for NGO backed awareness campaigns and accessible, prominent zero waste alternatives to single use plastics were recognized. Others believed in applying pressure to the government to raise awareness or put tax pressure on particularly damaging plastic uses.

Perhaps most important of all was the realization that these solutions would all require increased collaboration & cooperation between zero waste entrepreneurs in the field. All said and done we believe this first meet-up was a great success and has planted the seeds of collaboration we know is needed.

Thanks for the support by Impact Hub Jakarta!

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All photos and graphics by Zero Waste Living Lab, a program by enviu and Plastic Solutions Fund.

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