Ready to be inherited: Exemplary Waste Management Model in Banyuwangi

2 June 2023

by Nattamon Lompaporn

A sustainable tourism program is being set up in one of Indonesia’s National Strategic Tourist Destinations through setting waste management infrastructure and community education

Sunrise illuminates the Banyuwangi sea and waves lap at the shore in a pleasant never-ending rhythm. Your bare feet are softly covered in velvety sand with every step over the tropical beach as you prepare for an unforgettable summer vacation.

However, the harsh reality sets in when you notice the shabby debris randomly left all over the beach. 

This heartbreaking scene is not an exception in the Sunrise of Java, where the first ray of the sun touches the land in Banyuwangi, Indonesia. Many tourists tend to leave a trail of trash carelessly behind their footsteps.

Poor waste management has plagued Southeast Asia for decades, casting an unsightly shadow over its once pristine landscapes. Tourist attractions, in particular, often bear the brunt of this region-wide issue, as the influx of visitors exacerbates the problem. 

According to EcoRanger, in Banyuwangi, East Java alone, a considerable 448,300 kilograms of waste was collected in 2022, with organic waste dominating the composition at 65%.

Understanding that the key to progress lies within the people themselves, the Greeneration Foundation, an environmental NGO focused on sustainable consumption and production in Indonesia, has devised a sustainable model that hinges on the consistent cooperation of local villagers, who have to suffer the consequences of the problems at hand while also being the main beneficiaries of the initiative.

A Four-Year Scheme: Crafting a Sustainable Solution Through Thorough Planning

The EcoRanger team in Banyuwangi. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

In 2018, the Greeneration Foundation launched the EcoRanger program, which places a strong emphasis on sustainable tourism and waste management across Indonesia’s National Strategic Tourist Destinations (KSPN).

According to Nur Almira Rahardyan, the project leader of EcoRanger, the program was designed to cover all central principles following environmental regulations, financial stability, institutional and communal participation, and operational aspects. EcoRanger was brought to life through collaborative efforts among local heroes in Banyuwangi and from EcoRanger, who worked together to adopt and implement effective household waste-sorting practices.

Given that waste accumulates rather effortlessly over the course of the day, effective waste management requires careful consideration. The Greeneration Foundation approached this challenge with seriousness and established an efficient and sustainable waste management infrastructure in Pancer Village, Banyuwangi, named “Sentra Kelola Sampah” or “SEKOLA”.

Sentra Kelola Sampah, or simply SEKOLA, EcoRanger’s waste-sorting station. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

Recognizing the importance of careful planning, the EcoRanger program took four years to go live. During its first year, EcoRanger dedicated its efforts to establishing a strong institutional framework, developing necessary regulations, training its team of eco-heroes, and building connections with key stakeholders and the government. 

To ignite transformative involvement among the locals in self-waste management at the household level and create transparency in the project, EcoRanger broadened its bureaucratic horizons by forging partnerships with the government since the kick-off day, empowering robust involvement. This collaboration ultimately led to the enactment of a new regulation that emphasized the vital support needed from village, city, and provincial regulators to have the household waste properly managed.

In the following year, EcoRanger shifted its focus on the operational and financial aspects of waste management infrastructure, while simultaneously prioritizing community education on essential waste management principles.

The last two years were devoted to consolidating their efforts into a cohesive outcome. EcoRanger worked on enhancing the existing system to achieve a 100% rate of managed waste, ensuring that the community was well-versed in household waste-sorting. With the successful implementation of regulations and the generation of sufficient financial resources, the EcoRanger program was finally self-sustaining.

EcoRanger’s waste management process. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

“We plan to support the EcoRanger team until they can independently and sustainably manage their program, secure funding, and protect the tourism destinations which originally belong to them,” explained Almira.

March 2023 marked a significant milestone for EcoRanger. The program, particularly in Banyuwangi, legally emerged as a separate NGO named “Emvitrust,” led by the community members who had been trained over the past four years.

Beach cleanup at Banyuwangi Regency, East Java. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

What EcoRanger Brought to Life

In Banyuwangi, the Greeneration Foundation successfully established a waste management infrastructure after four years of effort and collaboration. Since 2019, EcoRanger has managed over 924,000 kilograms of waste, averaging at 724 kilograms per day. The majority of this waste originates from local households, with organic waste accounting for 65% of the total collected.

EcoRanger’s Operations Team sorts through organic waste collected from the village. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

Apart from waste management, the EcoRanger program has educated nearly 10,000 participants on waste-sorting and organized nearly 200 environmental events, including beach cleanups, the EcoRanger academy, and educational camps.

Regular EcoRanger beach cleanup event. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.
EcoRanger hosting a waste educational class to students in Banyuwangi. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

The Next Station to Achieve Zero Waste

Presently, EcoRanger tackles seven types of waste, the most problematic among them is multi-layered plastic, commonly found in food packaging. This type of plastic is typically rejected by recycling centers due to its limited value and recyclability. To discard it in the simplest manner, it often ends up in landfills, resulting in unsightly views, foul odors, soil and air pollution, and ecological imbalances.

Acknowledging the perils, EcoRanger has been determined to process these plastics into eco-bricks by 2023, eliminating waste remnants. This approach involves mixing the plastic with cement, ash, and water before pouring it into molds to create eco-bricks used as building materials.

The Mechanics of Successful Operations

Behind the curtain of EcoRanger’s impressive performance, the 10-member Operations Team works tirelessly, sorting and managing waste from the entire village. 

EcoRanger’s waste management process follows a few key steps. First, educated households diligently sort their waste into different categories (e.g. food, recyclables, hazardous,  and residual waste) before passing them on to EcoRanger. 

Second, Almira described that since the villagers had already sorted their own waste in the first step, EcoRanger can further classify the waste into seven different types within merely 2 hours, including recyclable waste, residual waste, and organic waste, which are then transformed into renewable energy and composite materials.

To facilitate this process, black soldier flies, also known as maggots, play an important role in decomposing organic waste into compost, which serves as plant fertilizer.

The final step is EcoRanger returning waste-derived products, such as bioslurry and compost back to the villagers, effectively creating a closed circular loop.

EcoRanger members standing before a SEKOLA Black Soldier Fly station. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

A Profitable Model as a Key to Sustaining a Lifelong System

The fact that EcoRanger charges each household only 20,000 Rupiah (approximately USD 1.4) per month to manage their daily waste properly can amaze anyone. 

However, relying solely on this single revenue stream would not provide EcoRanger with sufficient green-digit returns. EcoRanger has ideated several strategies to sustain its operations. These include selling recyclable waste to recycling centers, marketing waste management products such as maggots, compost, and bioslurry, and receiving donations from public and private organizations whose mission is environmental empowerment.

EcoRanger’s Dragon Fruit Farm grown with their homemade bioslurry. Photo courtesy of EcoRanger.

A Vision of Replicating Success Across Nationwide Tourist Destinations

Many NGOs face the uncertainty of discontinuation due to a lack of long-term sustainability. EcoRanger’s goal is to ensure that the program they have diligently built over the years can operate independently without relying on the Greeneration Foundation’s administration. 

Pondering the abundance of national strategic tourist destinations in Indonesia, EcoRanger envisages extending its successful waste infrastructure to other locations, where they can continue to advocate for sustainable tourism and empower communities in waste management. 

EcoRanger eagerly welcomes stakeholders who share the same vision to collaborate on community-based projects with well-structured administration and financial analysis and conduct  corporate social responsibility initiatives and branding programs, as well as translate international benefactors’ environmentally strategic ambitions into impactful projects.

Our featured Eco-Hero

EcoRanger is a community-based beach conservation initiative. Based in Dusun Pancer, Sumberagung, Pesanggaran, Banyuwangi Regency, East Java 68488, Indonesia, EcoRanger focuses on waste management in Indonesia’s National Strategic Tourist Destinations to empower sustainable tourism. You can reach out to them at

This article was produced with support from YSEALI SEEDS for the Future grant 2023.

Nattamon Lompaporn

Nattamon graduated with a bachelor’s degree of Communications Art in Thailand, and currently is a data analyst who believes that the power of storytelling can create movements among communities.

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