corporAID: Borealis has no production facilities in Indonesia. Why did you start a waste management project in an Indonesian fishing port of all places?
Wiplinger: Our ambition with Project STOP is to start where the hot spots of the garbage problem are and less where Borealis has a production site. More than 55 percent of the plastic released into the world's oceans comes from just five countries, Indonesia is one of them. Together with the municipalities, Project STOP is developing a sustainable, financially viable waste management system that not only prevents rubbish from ending up in the environment, but also reuses it and thus keeps it in the cycle.
You have been active in Muncar since 2017. What were the hurdles you encountered?
Wiplinger: There were and are a lot of surprising findings and the resulting challenges that have to be solved every day. This is why it is so important to develop and implement such a project on site together with the local stakeholders, because you can only develop a working solution if you understand the local context in full depth and breadth. One finding that came as a surprise to me was that plastic only accounts for around twelve percent of the garbage, the majority - more than 70 percent - is organic in nature. This also leads to considerable negative effects on the environment and the health of the population. So if you want to solve the plastic waste problem, you have to look at the waste management system as a whole. Therefore all waste fractions are collected.
The project in Muncar is to be handed over to the city government this year. In your opinion, is that the end of it?
Wiplinger: The plan is to have reached the entire population of Muncar with a sustainable waste collection system over the course of the year and to hand over operational and strategic management to the authorities. The Covid pandemic is currently making this process more difficult. But even after the official handover, the Project STOP team will still be available. We are also active in two other Indonesian cities and are preparing a major expansion. We stay on site!
Many thanks for the interview!
More Info: Project STOP