Waste is gold: When pawnshop meets waste bank in N. Jakarta

People living in North Jakarta have noticed an unlikely business thriving in their neighborhood - trading in household waste for gold. Does this sound too goof to be true? The neigborhood of Wijaya Kusuma is enjoying the gold rush. Resident Sulistiyowati Soepomo has embraced a new ad-age: the more recyclable items like plastic bottles,paper and metal you collect, the more gold awaits you.

it is a new business opportunity iniated by the government involving the community, neighborhood waste bank and public pawnshop PT Pegadaian. And here is how the program works. People collect recycalble items and have them weighed at the local waste bank every Tuesday. The waste is then consigned to the bank, which will resell it to the North Jakarta administration, which commits to buying the recyclables.

Afterwards, the waste bank reports the amount of cash a customer has made to the North Jakarta branch of PT Pegadaian, which will deposit their accumulated revenues, exchangeable for gold. The investment scheme was created by Pegadaian, which adopts a "sell, clean and gold" motto to lure customers. To join, residents are only required to open a gold savings account at the pawnshop. 

The public enterprise has registered 67 customerts since the program launched at Wijaya Kusuma. Pegadaian has introduced the program in at least 60 waste banks in 60 cities, including Pekanbaru, Riau; Palembang, South Sumatra; Banjarmasin, South Kalimantan and Makassar in South Sulawesi. 

It offers various gold investment products, such as Mulia, Gold Saving and Gold Consignment.

Mulia and Gold Saving have contributed the most to the company's offers. Gold savings is a gold buying and selling service with a deposit facility. The product has become popular for it's easy transaction terms; people can buy and save gold, starting from 0,01 grams.

North Jakarta Environment Agency head Slamet Riyadi said the waste-for-gold program was an effective way to encourage people to manage their waste properly. Figures show that the North Jakarta municipality produces around 900 tons of organic and inorganic waste a day, most of which goes to Bantar Gebang landfill in Bekasi, West Java.

The dumpsite has long been mired in conflict, with the Bekasi administration demanding a regular increase in fees. Jakarta, which dumps 7,000 tons of garbage a day at Bantar Gebang, has been building its own incinerators and recycling facilities. The capital boasts 270 waste banks, which help the government recycle 135 tons of waste a day.

The city administration has opened its dooes to collaboration with other stakeholders, particularly businesses, on waste management. 


Source: The Jakarta Post