Denpasar, 23 May 2023: The G20 Bali Summit in November 2022 was praised for bringing significant impacts to the island’s economy, boosting the tourism industry that was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact also trickled down to the waste management sector, speeding up the process to establish the much-needed integrated waste management facility (Tempat Pengolahan Sampah Terpadu, TPST).
Located in Kesiman Kertalangu ward in the capital of Denpasar, the 2-hectare facility was funded by The World Bank and managed by private enterprise PT Bali Citra Metro Plasma Power (BCMPP) with a 20-year contract.
“Thanks to the G20, it took only three months to complete the process (of establishing the TPST). The facility was completed in February 2023, and we are commercially running in March,’ said Mr Made Wahyu Wiratma, the CEO of BCMPP during a discussion with the Regional Knowledge Centre for Marine Plastic Debris in Sanur, Bali.
The facility has a set-up capacity of 450 tons per day, although it is currently still running at 60 percent capacity of 270 tons per day. Expected to reach full capacity in June 2023, the facility is run by 77 employees working in two shifts, 32 of whom work at the manual sorting tables.
From waste to energy
TPST Kesiman Kertalangu only receives dry waste, which has been separated from the wet waste at the landfill prior. The incoming waste flow is as follows:
- Receiving area for the waste coming from the city
- Bag opener
- Manual sorting
- Box feeder, where waste is separated by weight
- Rotary dryer to reduce the moisture level from 40 percent to 20 percent
- Compressor to make RDF bales and machines to produce pellets
From the incoming waste, around 10 percent is plastic, which will be compressed and sold to offtakers, according to Mr Victor Benedictus, the TPST Plant Head. The majority, or about 45 percent, of the dried waste is processed into brickettes or refuse derived fuel (RDF) that are sold to power plants and cement industry.
‘RDF has the same calorific value as coal, but the price is slightly cheaper. The RDF still contains plastic to make it more burnable,’ said Mr Victor, adding that the rest of the waste would be recycled.
In addition to the TPST Kesiman, two more facilities are going to open in the city in the near future: TPST Padangsambian Kaja, with the capacity of 120 tons per day, and TPST Tahura Ngurah Rai, with 450 tons per day.
‘One particular site will be reserved for wet waste, such as fruit and vegetable waste that will be used as maggot feed and compost,’ Mr Victor said.
Major operational challenges
Mr Wiratma, the CEO of BCMPP, said the company received hundreds of complaints when they first operated because of the foul smell from the waste. The facility is indeed located on the side of the main road not too far from the residential complexes, causing unwanted odor from the facility reaching the complexes.
This backlash is partly due to the lack of communication in advance to the surrounding community about the purpose of the facility. Many neighbors had led to believe that the structure was going to be a garment factory, only to discover that it was destined to be a waste management site.
The problem has been resolved but the facility is facing more challenges: the rain. As a tropical island, rain comes from time to time, making it more complicated and time consuming to separate and process the waste.
‘Another challenge is recruiting workers. A lot of Balinese would love to work on cruise ships and the hospitality industry. But because of the negative connotation attached to the word ‘waste’, they back off when we try to recruit them to operate waste management facility,’ said Mr Wiratma.
He added that this condition leads to a high rate of employee turnover, as it is hard to retain workers in the long run, which is understandable given the social stigma.
‘Financial viability is another issue for us. This project is financed by a foreign bank, not a grant, so we have to be committed. It is still a big homework for us to meet the production capacity, otherwise we cannot pay off the loan,’ explained Mr Wiratma.
Despite the number of challenges it faces, the facility has become a pilot for other provinces in Indonesia, with the central government plans to duplicate the facility.
‘I have been invited to a lot of meetings to speak and explain about the facilities and sending a report every week. This facility has become the national reference to be duplicated in 52 cities in Indonesia,’ said Mr Wiratma.