Refill Stations: a solution to tackling single-use plastic

By now you will be aware of the significant environmental implications of single-use plastic, particularly  in Indonesia (a world top 5 plastic polluting country). The wide-spread implementation of refill stations could have a powerful, tangible impact on managing waste and reducing single-use plastics. 

Refill stations promote a waste-free, more sustainable lifestyle by encouraging customers to bring their own containers for refilling various household essentials such as food items, cleaning products, and toiletries. This eliminates the need for the constant repurchase of single-use plastic packaged items and reduces the amount of waste generated. 

The implementation of refill stations also encourages a circular economy, where products are used and reused, reducing the need for continuous production and disposal of new goods, helping to conserve natural resources, reduce emissions, and minimise waste. Additionally, refill stations can provide an educational platform to raise awareness about the impacts of single-use plastic and the importance of reducing waste. Customers are encouraged to adopt a waste-free lifestyle and are taught how to recycle and compost properly.

CLEAR has already piloted refill stores at village recycling centres (waste banks) to address the littering caused by sachet culture. A small loan of 250,000 Rupiah (about £12.50) allows the Waste Bank Committees to purchase domestic items in bulk. These are then resold to members who bring their own containers. Unit costs for the members are similar, or even cheaper, than that of single-use plastic packaged products and the need for polluting plastic sachets is eliminated.

Overall the implementation of refill stations across Indonesia could have a tangible and significant impact on reducing single-use plastic and improving waste management. By promoting a waste-free lifestyle, reducing waste generation, and educating the public, these initiatives can contribute to a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future for Indonesia.