We are experimenting with incentives and sanctions to improve waste sorting behavior at the household level in Bali.
Indonesia’s waste management system is still inadequate to process all of the solid waste that the country generates. It is estimated that out of 67.8 million tons of waste generated in one year, 24% or 16.3 tons remain unprocessed (Research and Development Agency of Indonesia, 2018). The rest of it goes straight to landfill using the open dumping practice, where waste is piled and disposed of in an environmentally-unfriendly manner.
One of the problems with landfills is that they are limited in space. Indeed, most landfills in Indonesia, including Bali’s Suwung landfill, are already over capacity and need intensive treatment (Meidiana et al., 2020). Not only does excess capacity of landfills cause environmental consequences such as water and soil pollution, it creates serious safety concerns. In February 2005, a huge mountain of trash at Leuwigajah landfill in Bandung exploded and collapsed, killing 157 nearby residents (Government of Bandung City, 2021). The Leuwigajah incident was the worst waste tragedy that has ever occured in Indonesia.
To prevent such waste disasters from recurring, it is crucial to reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills. One of the most effective methods to do this is to implement proper segregation at the source of the waste. However, the rate of waste segregation in Indonesia remains low due to lack of interest from communities and limited waste infrastructure (The Conversation, 2020). Therefore, there is a need to explore effective waste sorting systems at the household level to prevent further waste piling up in landfills.
The problem of waste is fundamentally caused by human behavior and hence it is important to alter the way humans handle waste. Important factors that can prompt change in waste sorting behavior include accessibility of segregated waste bins and by giving stimulus control (Ólaffson, 2016).
Another way to influence waste sorting behavior is by giving incentives and sanctions to the community. In Indonesia, such incentive schemes already exist through the Bank Sampah (Waste Bank) program, where citizens are encouraged to segregate recyclables and send them to a nearby Bank Sampah in return for a monetary incentive (Jakarta Smart City, 2018). In Bali’s Klungkung regency, the local government has issued a regulation that states those who violate waste segregation rules are subject to a fine of up to 50 million rupiah (Government of Klungkung, 2020).
As there are various kinds of incentives and sanctions related to waste segregation, in this experiment Kopernik aims to find the most effective approaches for improving waste sorting practices at the household level in a Balinese community. Together with the banjar (village administrative unit), we will compare the effectiveness of an incentive and sanction by separating our experimentation subjects into four groups:
- Control: business as usual
- Treatment 1: applied incentive
- Treatment 2: applied sanction
- Treatment 3: applied incentive and sanction
Over four months, we will measure the waste sorting behavior of these groups.
THE EXPECTED IMPACT
We hope this experiment will have a lasting impact on the community’s waste sorting behavior even after the project ends. As this intervention will be tailored to one banjar in Bali, the same type of intervention will be suitable for implementation in other regions of the province. In the long run, we hope this intervention will significantly reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills.
THE PROJECT RESULT
The project experiment run over the period of three months resulted in the following findings:
- Participants who are in the Treatment group had a slightly higher average sorting rate compared to the Control group by 1.3% difference. This implies that the provision of waste sorting infrastructure and training significantly increases the willingness of households to sort their waste.
- The waste sorting performance of both the Treatment and Control group varies over the experiment period. While the waste sorting performance is generally high and stable, external events that notably increase the volume of waste produced (e.g. major religious ceremonies) highly influence the ability of households to sort their waste properly. As such, during these times, we see a sharp decrease in the waste sorting performance of both groups.
For more information on the results and findings of this project, please visit our Solutions Catalog.
Solution & project implementation
Costs associated with the purchase of the solutions tested and project coordination
Monitoring & Evaluation
Costs associated with data collection, analysis and reporting
Cost of transferring payments internationally, processing online donations (5%) and a contribution to Kopernik's operational costs (15%)