How we ditch the disposable economy in 2020

The disposable economy is strongly influenced by consumerism and production of disposable items that are no good for reuse or repair. This take-make-dispose mentality greatly harms ecosystems and gave us reason to found the Zero Waste Living Lab Indonesia in 2018. Now in 2020, with key takeaways from building reuse solutions, we’ll strive to bring our positive impact to the next level, for both people and planet.

Why we had to act

Indonesia is the world’s second largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution. Every year an incredible amount of 13 million tons of plastic piles up in landfills, clogs rivers and eventually leaks into our oceans. In addition, a lack of affordable alternatives, shipments of waste from Europe, Australia and North America and poor waste management combine to fuel the plastic pollution problem. With leaking plastics come numerous threats: major environmental problems, danger to people’s health and damage to flora and fauna. We knew we want to innovate where change is needed most.

Combating the issue at the source

But how and where do you start when a country is drowning, and waterways are choking in plastic waste? The situation is so bad that the army has been called for duty. Should we lead beach clean-ups, fish for plastic waste in the oceans or focusing on banning single-use plastic in the country? No, we combat the issue at the source! Setting us apart from any other program is the fact that at the Zero Waste Living Lab we build solutions. In general, 80-90% of the attention to plastic goes to the problem. The Zero Waste Living Lab identifies problematic packaging flows and focusses on building solutions in those markets to create highest impact. 

Building disruptive businesses for positive impact

The first year of the Zero Waste Living Lab was all about getting a systemic understanding of the challenge, as well as scouting and understanding which business models we should focus on. Building analog brick and water business models in such a huge market is not enough, we need fundamental change. We validate new and sustainable business models by creating, replicating or accelerating ventures. We use what’s already there and add what’s missing. For 2020, we’re working at light-speed on five ventures that help the environment, people and marine life to live well!

Kecipir: A demand-based farm-to-fork e-commerce platform, that delivers fresh produce from farmers directly to urban consumers eliminating single-use plastics.

CupKita: A smart full-service solution (replication of Muuse to Indonesia) that enables coffee stores to lend reusable cups to their customers.

Econesia: A reuse solution that frees the hospitality and retail industry from single-use plastics. The launching product is a full-service drinking water solution.

Zero Waste Warung: A block-chain inspired refill and rewards system with reusable sachets in a network of local warungs (local daily need markets).

Circular Laundry Service: Refill Delivery System to tackle the low value plastics involved in local laundry stores.

5 lessons learned from building reuse solutions

These are our key takeaways from building reuse models on Java’s urban hotspots that you can actively incorporate in your reuse solution.

  1. Jakarta is a ‘tech-savvy’ city with the most frontrunning and trendsetting citysumers and Bandung is a Zero Waste City with a strong movement.
  2. Millennials are a growing target customer segment and they are open for new innovations, sustainability and digital technologies.
  3. On a B2B level it is easier to create consumer acceptance and integrate reuse solutions, taking away the burden from consumers and offering a stronger business.
  4. Platform driven solutions, using digital technology, are promising because of their rapid scaling potential.
  5. We identified the tourism sector as an interesting potential first-mover customer based on the urgency and visibility of the plastic pollution.

Tackling the plastic issue at the source and focusing on convenient solutions that make skipping single-use plastics easy and affordable are our key drivers for our circular ventures this year. We use the power of impact-driven entrepreneurship to develop a market for zero waste consumption and enable a radically more sustainable consumption paradigm in Indonesia and beyond.

If you are also working on building the reuse revolution as an entrepreneur or expert, drop us a line at We’re happy to hear your plans and strategies for 2020!

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