Banjarmasin scales up citywide Waste Bank network

June 8, 2017
The Martapura Promenade development project is becoming an important gathering space and tourist destination, making the river a symbol of Banjarmasin. Taman Siring is the city’s central public park along the Martapura River.

Banjarmasin city is the capital city of South Kalimantan province on Borneo island. With a total land area of 98km2, the city has a population of 675,440 citizens spread over five districts (‘kecamatan’) and 52 sub-districts (‘kelurahan’) (Banjarmasin City’s Central Bureau of Statistics, 2016). With a density at 9,381 individuals per km square, the city is one of the densely populated cities outside Java Island.

The Banjarmasin city is located on a river delta land, at the convergence point of the Martapura and Barito River. Due to its low-lying position (about 20cm below sea level), much of the city’s land is submerged rivers/canals and most buildings are on concrete or ironwood (vernacular name: kayu gelam) platforms/stilts. More than a century ago, Banjarmasin used to be known as ‘The City of Thousand Rivers’, but the number of rivers has dwindled to about 50. Over the past century, the area covered by rivers has significantly decreased due to rapid urbanisation. Banjarmasin city’s main Martapura River plus tributaries connect visitors to the rest of the Kalimantan region and are central to the identity of the city.

Banjarmasin city is the trade, logistics and transport hub for the ‘Greater Banjarmasin Metropolitan Area’ or locally known as Banjar Bakula Provincial Strategic Region with a population of over 2 million. The Banjar Bakula region comprises the two cities of Banjarmasin and Banjarbaru (very famous for gemstones), and the three regencies of Banjar, Barito Kuala and Tanah Laut. Buyers and sellers of goods from the hinterland region congregate at the city’s markets. Banjarmasin is especially famous for its iconic floating markets (‘pasar terapung’) which is a form of tradition spanning more than 500 years. The markets here are similar to those in Vietnam but there are less motorized boats.

Banjarmasin’s economy was previously based on the extraction of raw materials such as timber and rubber, but is now transitioning to become a city of services and trade. While manufacturing accounts for a significant portion of Banjarmasin’s economy, it has grown at a very low rate. Meanwhile, economic sectors such as transportation, finance, and services which are supported by water-related activities have expanded rapidly to make up over half of the economic activity in Banjarmasin.

Banjarmasin City of Indonesia collects about 600t of solid waste a day (about 60% organic waste), of which 440t is disposed in a shared regional final disposal site (sanitary landfill) located in the neighbouring Banjarbaru city, about 40km from Banjarmasin city. The city’s own (smaller) landfill is expected to be exhausted within 5-7 years. After that, the city would need to dispose all waste in the shared landfill which will incur a tipping fee of IDR60,000 per tonne and transport cost, which increases the burden on the city’s finances.


A view of Kampong Melayu, the area producing ‘sasirangan’ (South Kalimantan version of batik cloth) in Banjarmasin along the Martapura River. The houses here are painted in bright patterns similar to the design of ‘sasirangan’. Since 2010 Sasirangan village has been appointed by the Tourism Office of Banjarmasin City government as one of the city’s top tourist destinations. Traditionally, natural dyes were used for colors – turmeric roots were used to create yellow, karabintang fruit and areca nut to make red and brown colors, etc. Today, lead-containing chemical dyes are more commonly used and which are unfortunately key river pollutants.


The city government is well-known within Indonesia for its good governance, and has recently won the national Green City ‘Adipura’ Awards in 2016. The city vision is to be a “Riverfront city as an economic gateway to Kalimantan 2025” — a place with strong cultural heritage, robust infrastructure, self-sufficient local economies and high-quality, clean and beautiful public spaces especially along the riverside.

In the past, the city had neglected its riverside infrastructure and the Martapura riverside is filled with low-income slum areas – many in debilitated conditions due to the lack of investment and repairs. In order to improve its image, the city is re-orienting itself towards its river assets towards becoming a ‘riverfront’ city like Singapore. The current development vision, mission and programme planning are defined in the city’s midterm development plan (2016-2021), which has a theme of “Kayuh Baimbai toward a Banjarmasin Baiman”, with its six mission pillars toward a religious, tranquil, beautiful, advanced, trusted, and comfortable city.

The city plan to divert the existing landfill to be an Intermediate Solid Waste Transfer Stations (Stasiun Peralihan Antara, or SPA), where solid waste from various sources, aggregate and compact it for haulage to the final disposal site. The SPA could reduce the waste volume to 1/3 after compacted and decreased the leachate, as a result decreasing tipping fee before dispose it to the final site. The city seeks support for the establishment of the SPA.

Hence, since 2012, the city management adopted an ambitious waste reduction goal of diverting 90% of its total waste. A key strategy is to actively scale up the number of decentralized ‘waste banks’ (recyclable collection points) throughout the city. For this, Banjarmasin received strong encouragement from the Ministry of Environment, as well as learnt from waste bank frontrunner cities such as Jogjakarta and Malang.


Banjarmasin’s city officers (Ms. Ayu and Ms. Antung) showing recent upcycled products made by local people. The city’s Division of Industry and Marketing has established a local project (‘Kreatif House’) to provide training and suport to 6 groups (5 members in each group; mainly women) of craftspeople who create marketable ‘upcycled’ products using materials recovered at waste banks. For example, batik slippers made from waste cardboard and scrap cloths (price: IDR3,000) and lamp made from repurposed styrofoam (price: IDR17,000 – 35,000 depending on design) are sold to two local hotels via a formal agreement as a livelihood enhancement initiative.


To accelerate the scaling up effort and stimulate the performance of waste bank operations, since 2008 the city has: (i) collaborated with the national government and private sector (esp. Unilever) to organise annual waste bank competitions which recognise the most outstanding waste bank and provide rewards such as cash and computers; (ii) established a central waste bank (in 2016) to provide training/mentoring/assistance and services to the smaller and lower-capacity waste banks (i.e.  be the ‘broker’ between small waste banks and the bulk recyclers); and (iii) provided subsidies for waste bank training and seed funds for establishing banks in terms land, operating equipment (weighing scale, table, membership books, stationary), gas/petrol for transport vehicles, salary for waste bank workers and electricity/water. The subsidies are provided in principle for one year to allow the new waste bank to reach self-sufficiency.

With this strategy, the city has successfully established 150 waste banks between 2012 – 2016. It is on track to adding 50 more waste bank units to achieve 200 waste banks, utilising seed funds from ASEAN ESC Model Cities Year 3. Ultimately, the city hopes to establish 500 waste banks, where by each waste bank is capable of diverting an average of 1t of waste per month. Of the 200 waste bank units to be targeted by the end of 2017, about 170-180 units have been succesfully established during the M&E on early May 2017. According to a staff at Central Waste Bank, about 45% of the units are active, while the remaining are less and non-active that need a facilitation from the Central Waste Bank. The units are spreaded out at citizen settlements, housing estates, rental multi-story houses, markets, and schools from early childhood education centres (PAUD) to university. First promotion of waste bank in Banjarmasin was dating back in 2009 when a CSR programme of the Unilever Indonesia in cooperation with the City government and NGO’s Kompas Borneo conducted a green and clean programme.

Banjarmasin City’s Central Waste Bank management team standing in front of a map showing all of the waste banks established in Banjarmasin city.


The city’s ‘Central Waste Bank’ is a key pillar of its citywide waste bank scaling strategy. Its main function is to be the ‘buyer’ of recyclables collected from the less mature and smaller waste banks within the city, who are not yet able to sell directly to the bulk recyclers. Also provides mentorship and training to other waste banks. It usually visits the other waste banks once a month or based on request. It opens to receive collections 4 days a week and to pick the collection up upon request from the units.

The Central Waste Bank is staffed by two main chief volunteers (who are paid occasionally) and 8 persons to focus on waste sorting. The team collects an average of 11t per month with IDR14million (USD1,050) up to IDR 30 million (USD2,250) in income, and spend an average of IDR3 million per month for waste sorting.

Of the 150 waste banks overseen by the Central Waste Bank, roughly 40 units (25%) are already in advanced stage (mature and don’t need to rely on the central waste bank’s assistance), about 70 units (35%) in intermediate stage (being relatively active and regular in its collection rate) and the rest are still in the ‘incubation’ stage (requiring further guidance and capacity building).

Most of the waste collected are sold to the bulk recyclers, which transport it to Java Island to be recycled it into pellets. Some waste bank units have crushing machines as a support from the city government, but are rarely used for the size of chipping plastic are different from the standard size required by the manufacture making the price is lower than plastic bottle.

The Central Waste bank of Banjarmasin was awarded as one of the 6 best waste banks, out of 48,000 waste bank across Indonesia, during the 2017 National Waste Awareness Day. Other awarded waste banks were Bina Mandiri Waste Bank of Surabaya, Waste Bank of Malang, Talo Waste Bank of Makassar, Gemah Ripah Waste Bank of Bantul, and RW03 Mekarsari Waste Bank of East Jakarta.



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