26 July 2023

Empowering Communities through Waste Bank: A Successful Transformation Turning Environmental Awareness into Economic Value

The establishment of Bank Sampah Berseri is one of the success stories of the empowerment program implemented by IMM at the Community Learning Center (PKBM) Damai Mandiri. PKBM Damai Mandiri is a community-managed educational institution with the support of the local education department.

PKBM Damai Mandiri is not a formal educational institution, but it offers equivalency education such as Package A (elementary school), B (junior high school), and C (senior high school). Additionally, the institution provides life skills training such as computer courses, culinary arts, and sewing. In line with IMM’s community empowerment goals, PKBM Damai Mandiri also carries out an environmental care movement through the Bank Sampah program and waste recycling.


The Birth of Bank Sampah Berseri

Bank Sampah Berseri originated from a community service activity 2011 conducted by PKBM Damai Mandiri during the Aksi Peduli Lingkungan (Environmental Care Action). In this activity, they ran a garbage collection campaign in the surrounding area of PKBM Damai Mandiri.

IMM greatly appreciated this initiative and subsequently offered PKBM Damai Mandiri the opportunity to establish Bank Sampah, involving the management, tutors, and students of PKBM Damai Mandiri in the organizational structure.

To introduce Bank Sampah Berseri to the local community, PKBM Damai Mandiri and IMM conducted a comprehensive and gradual socialization process over several months. The socialization started at the village level, extended to the neighborhood units (RT), and reached community groups such as the Family Welfare Empowerment Program (PKK) and Religious Study Group. The response from the community regarding the establishment of Bank Sampah Berseri varied. Some were skeptical and considered it a temporary program, but most of the community supported the presence of Bank Sampah Berseri and hoped that rural waste issues could be addressed.


Concrete Examples

One of the primary strategies Bank Sampah Berseri implements is the 3R principle (reduce, reuse, recycle). Bank Sampah Berseri educates the community by providing real-life examples of the benefits of the 3R code starting from individual households. For example, the use of personal water bottles by the management, waste sorting education for PKK members, training on making flowerpots from used diapers, and encouraging minimal waste production and reuse of items that are still usable.

Bank Sampah Berseri is committed to implementing the 3R principle in its day-to-day operations. They encourage the management and customers of Bank Sampah to practice reuse consistently. For instance, in managing inorganic waste, they use rice sacks instead of plastic bags as waste containers, and these containers are returned to residents once the waste has been weighed. Additionally, Bank Sampah Berseri utilizes used sacks from their partners for large-scale packaging.


IMM’s Support

In collaboration with IMM, Bank Sampah Berseri provides waste management and recycling management training to the management and RT units of Bank Sampah Berseri. Through this training, the management gains a better understanding of the administrative governance of Bank Sampah, waste sorting techniques, and some units are even capable of producing recycling products. The management system of Bank Sampah Berseri adheres to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry Regulation No. 14 of 2021 regarding Waste Management in Bank Sampah.

The support from IMM in Bank Sampah berseri is crucial. Aside from supporting facilities and development training for Bank Sampah Berseri, IMM also provides operational funds.

Meanwhile, PKBM Damai Mandiri and the students actively participate in developing Bank Sampah Berseri through education and human resource management. The operational costs of Bank Sampah Berseri, in addition to IMM’s support, are obtained from several sources, including PKBM Damai Mandiri’s entrepreneurship fund, Bank Sampah’s profits, and a significant portion from the personal funds of the Director of Bank Sampah Berseri.

PKBM Damai Mandiri consistently educates its students about social and environmental responsibility. The students of PKBM Damai Mandiri actively participate in the management of Bank Sampah and become customers of the Bank Sampah. They are also actively engaged in waste recycling skills activities using materials collected from the Bank Sampah. The participation of these students reflects their enthusiasm regarding Bank Sampah Berseri as both managers and customers, as well as serving as an extension of PKBM Damai Mandiri in disseminating its programs, particularly Bank Sampah Berseri, to the broader community.


Positive Impacts 

Bank Sampah Berseri has also positively impacted the environment and the surrounding community. These include participation in garbage collection activities during the commemoration of Environmental Day together with IMM, acting as resource persons in waste sorting activities at Madrasah Tsanawiyah Al Mukarramah in Kota Bontang, hosting visits from students of SMPN 2 Teluk Pandan for the Strengthening of "Proyek Penguatan Profil Pelajar Pancasila (P5)" in the field of environment and waste recycling, and acting as resource persons in the socialization of Bank Sampah and household waste sorting at PKK RT.09 Desa Suka Rahmat.

Regarding the economic aspect, it is expected that the waste savings program in the form of Tabungan Emas (Gold Savings) in collaboration with Pegadaian Syariah and Tabungan Berjangka (Time Deposit) will benefit the community. Customers who withdraw their time deposits can utilize the funds to meet their family’s needs.

The surrounding environment has also experienced improvements: Empty pesticide and fertilizer bottles that used to be disposed of improperly by farmers are now collected and deposited at the Bank Sampah.


Support and Recognition

After more than two years of operation, the community has become more trusting and supportive of the activities and programs of Bank Sampah Berseri. They even invite Bank Sampah to participate in various community and school activities. Bank Sampah Berseri has also received an award from the Bupati (Regent) of Kutai Timur as the "Initiator and Innovator Bank Sampah in Implementing the 3R Principle” during the commemoration of Environmental Day in 2023.

The award was given in recognition of the activities and creativity of "Bank Sampah Berseri" in waste management with the 3R Principle, as well as being the first waste bank with units at the neighborhood level (RT) in the Teluk Pandan district, thus being selected as the third Main Bank Sampah in Kutai Timur Regency.


Working Smart, Hard, and Sincere

The success of Bank Sampah Berseri in receiving the award is due to the philosophy of “Working Smart, Working Hard, and Working Sincerely” that has been embedded. “We feel honored and responsible for maintaining this award and serving the community of the Teluk Pandan district and Kutai Timur Regency with full dedication,” said Bu Endang Sri Dahlia, Director of Bank Sampah Berseri.

With the presence of Bank Sampah Berseri, the realization of a clean environment and a caring community becomes easier. Through education, proper waste management, and active participation of the community, IMM has succeeded in making Bank Sampah Berseri a tangible manifestation of our collective efforts to preserve the environment and create a healthy and prosperous society.*