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Several large earthquakes in July and August 2018 destroyed the majority of the houses and public buildings in North Lombok. Many people lost their livelihoods and daily conditions changed drastically. Earthquake victims suddenly found themselves living in tent camps or ruined houses with few or no facilities. After the series of earthquakes it was natural for Trash Rebel to step up and help together with Yayasan Harapan Baru Indonesia the affected people.

Supplies wrapped in plastic

Private organizations and the government started to provide food and other basic necessities. However, many of these supplies were wrapped in plastic packaging. Lacking organised waste management systems in Indonesia, and without their usual methods of disposal, more and more people threw their waste directly in the vicinity of their tents or villages which attracted pests and began to generate disease. Malaria is one of the major consequences of plastic waste around living areas.

Trash Rebel began by helping Agung Siaga with water filters and basic aid deliveries. Shortly after they were contacted by Yayasan Harapan Baru Lombok Indonesia (New Hope for Lombok Indonesia) Foundation, who wanted to learn from Trash Rebel how Ecobricks could prevent the spread of pest borne diseases in the camps and villages of the affected areas.

Trash Rebel teaches about Ecobricks

Trash Rebel’s founder Ruby has been involved with Ecobrick-projects over the last two years. An Ecobrick is a dry clean plastic bottle stuffed with dry clean plastic waste. To make an Ecobrick requires some simple guidelines on technique, and easily available materials; scissors, a stick, the dry clean plastic bottle and the plastic waste. Ecobricks are a simple and effective solution that villagers can learn to help to create their own structures and furniture while maintaining a clean and healthy environment.

A focus group came together to discuss the possibilities of Ecobricks as a solution to keep the camps clean. After the meetings, Yayasan Harapan Baru Indonesia stepped up to become the first sponsor of the pilot project; teaching villages in Medas village, Gunung Sari district, about the Ecobrick-technique. Harapan Baru established a trading system to provide villagers with food basics in return for well-made Ecobricks of a minimum weight of 200g.

Giving value to plastic waste

This ‘kickstarted’ interest in collecting and up-cycling waste. Now incentivized by this new form of production- the concept of ‘giving value to trash’ by providing a form of livelihood – particularly for impoverished women began to spread quickly. Working together helped restore community activity and self-help in the face of shock and surrounding destruction. The women produced the Ecobricks with great pleasure and are proud that they are cleaning up their environment while getting basic goods in return.

A Indonesian team lead by Humaidi, started collecting Ecobricks from 6 villages after Trash Rebel had provide the instruction classes. With the Ecobricks collected in this pilot – Yayasan Harapan Baru Indonesia intends to build two classrooms in early 2019, returning the results of their effort to the community. Those classrooms will be a premiere for Indonesia. Other communities in Indonesia already make furniture, art and garden walls with Ecobricks; however this pilot will create a model for a learning space with building structures made of Ecbobricks that can be shared widely.

1200 kilo of plastic has already been collected!

The pilot was immediately successful, exceeding expectations. In only 6 weeks almost 6000 Ecobricks were collected; meaning 1200 kilos of plastic has been removed from the village environment. 120 Villagers are involved in this pilot making an average of 24 Ecobricks per month.

This success has led to the decision to continue and expand the pilot, reaching more people in areas stricken by the earthquakes, and help stimulate clean ups across Lombok. The Ecobrick technique has enormous potential in aiding the (re)construction of Lombok, as it is a safe and cheap way of building. In addition it can raise awareness of the association between keeping their environment clean and disease reduction.

Think globally act locally

With the philosophy ‘think globally act locally’ Trash Rebel aims to provide free Ecobrick-classes in villages in West and North Lombok for 2019. In the pilot 4,000 Ecobricks have been collected in 4 weeks’ time. If Trash Rebel can sustain that number and continue in other villages, there is a potential of 48,000 Ecobricks in one year time with the total weight of 9,600 kilo of waste that could become useful instead of poisonous and polluting.

The discarding of plastic often goes into rivers or un regulated dumps that results in huge amounts of waste ending up in the ocean or burnt producing poisonous dioxins close to human habitation and agricultural land. There is an urgent need for solutions to plastic pollution. Trash Rebel has set their target to get 10,000kg plastic waste out of nature in 2019 in Lombok and inspire Indonesians to use alternatives for their daily plastics; like bamboo straws, wooden take-away cutlery, cotton shopping bags and sustainable water bottles.

Donate for the free-classes

In order to fill our wish to teach in more villages about the Ecobrick-technique and keep their environment clean, we collaborate with companies and universities in Lombok, but we could also use your help!

We want to compensate the Indonesian crew that helps us during the Ecobricks lessons, as well as provide the material that is needed to give the lessons( think guide books and scissors). It is not much that we need, but we cannot fund it all by ourselves. Therefore we are asking for your support, your donations are what can make the difference.

European bank account details:

Name bank: ING Bank

Bic code: INGBNL2A

Account number:  NL21 INGB 0008 252887

Name: Ruby Kramer

City: Oosterhout

Australian bank account details:

Name bank: National Australia Bank

Bic code:  NATAAU3303M

Account number: 84-477-1112

BSB number:  082-604

Name: Ruby Kramer

Team of Trash Rebel