3rd and 4th October

This morning we decide to come back to Bali, instead of going to the splendid islands of Gili. It’s a difficult choice to make. Our legs are still smoking but we want to have time to visit a CDM project tomorrow on Bali. After some shopping in Mataram (including a new dictionary, and some fruits), we head towards Lembar to take the boat for Bali, at 12h. Here is what we see most of the time on the bike…

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As we entered on the ferry, we saw two bicycles already parked. And they are full of paniers! for sure there are other cyclotourists with us today! After a little investigation among the passengers, we find the owners: a couple of Dutch people, Maureen and Jean. They have already spent several weeks between Bali and Lombok, exploring many routes on both islands.

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They tell us that when the night arrives and they are still cycling, they generally get into a Bemo: it’s a kind of taxi-van, open in the behind, with one bench on each side and that permits transporting the two bicycles in between. We’ll look for one tonight when going to Denpasar.

Since this week there is the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in Bali, many heads of states come to Bali airport, and so it is closed during these arrivals. As a consequence, many people arrive by boat instead of plane, and the Padang Bai harbour is collapsed. Our boat arrives in front of the port at 15h30, but we are only allowed to reach the deck at 17h15. Now it is for sure, we cannot arrive at Refi’s house before the night. This waiting in front of the harbour allowed us to see a group of dolphins playing in the waves.

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Once we are out of the ferry, we go to Denpasar. Despite our efforts in looking for what we think is a Bemo, we cannot find any. So we keep going to Denpasar, at a good pace. We finally arrive at Refi’s house at 20h15. We are welcomed by a wonderful yellow watermelon that was waiting in the fridge: it’s so good! So refreshing! It tastes sweeter and slightly better than our common watermelon.

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The next day, we get up at 7h30. Today we’ll go to visit a waste recycling facility in the Gianyar Regency, north of Denpasar. This facility is registered in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projets created by the Kyoto protocole. You can find the Project Design Document here. We go to take breakfast in the street, just outside Refi’s house. Then we head towards the waste facility, we have a meeting at 10h30 with the person we contacted over there, David Kuper. After many problems on the way (we run out of batteries for the GPS, we cannot find the facility, we run out of credit in our cellphone), we finally arrive to the facility, in the village of Temesi, one hour late. On our way, we met a class of young Indonesians during their break.

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The facility we are going to visit has been created some 5-10 years ago, with the goal of reusing the organic waste coming to the landfill in order to produce compost. The production of compost comes from an aerobic (i.e. with enough oxygen) decomposition of the waste that creates CO2. It replaces the storing the waste in a landfill, where an anaerobic (i.e. with lack of oxygen) decomposition of the waste creates methane. And as methane is a very powerful Green House effect Gas (GHG), some23 times stronger than CO2, by preventing organic waste to produce this gas in a landfill, the site is helping reducing the GHG emissions. As so, it has been accepted as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project as defined in the Kyoto Protocol.

When we finally arrive at the facility, David is having a meeting with officials from the local parliament (of Gianyar Regency), so we make the visit of the facility with his assistant. We go to see the different steps of the fabricating the compost from organic waste: separate the organic waste from the rest, transform organic waste into raw compost, and process the compost to sell it. In addition, the facility also has a landfill (serving for the whole Gianyar Regency) and a small laboratory.

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First, the waste arrives by trucks, at the quantity of 30 tons per day. This amount corresponds to less than one third of the waste produced in the Regency of Gianyar. This waste is manually separated between organic waste (to make compost, 85% of the total weight), recyclable waste(plastic bottle, aluminium foil! that will be sent to other recycling plants in Java, 5% of the total weight), and non-organic waste (for the landfill, 10% of the total weight). The big advantage producing compost from the organic waste is that the landfill is filled much more slowly, giving it a lifetime ten times longer. And creating the installation for a landfill is very expensive (and the big interrogation of the people here is what will happen when the landfill is full?).

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The workers separating the waste are not hired by the facility, but outsourced. Depending on the quantity of waste, there can be up to 200 workers here, but generally, they are around 50. They are paid 45000 RP (3€) for 1 ton of organic wasted separated. Many of them are from Java, and live in barracks just next to the facility.

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Then, the organic waste is stored in a big hangar with piles of 4m high. There, it receives the necessary air (blown from under) and water (added from above) supply every day, so that the decomposition happens correctly. Periodically, the waste is turned to homogenise the process. The total decomposition of the waste takes 3 to 4 months. At the end of this period, the waste has been converted into raw compost. This compost is cut and put into bags in order to be used as fertilizer, at the price of 1000 RP par kilo. Among the clients are the local people of course, but also gardens, parks, hotels, the company PT Biotech!. Every day, some 8 tons of raw compost are produced. A small part of the raw compost (around 1 ton per day) is processed one additional month so that it becomes a finished compost that can be mixed with soil to grow plants.

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To manage these operations with the compost, some 30 workers have been hired by the facility. As the land has been ceded by the local government, and the facility belongs to a NGO constituted by the village of Temesi, the workers are in priority the habitants of the village. It makes this waste facility well accepted among the local people.

The company PT Biotech buys a fixed amount of compost, and mixes it with cow manure in order to make fertilizing pebbles. Such a client is a very good opportunity for the waste facility, ensuring a constant source of money. So part of the land of the facility has been given to PT Biotech so that the pebbles are directly produced here, without any extra cost.

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After the visit of the installation, we meet David and he explains us about the bureaucracy he has to go through to keep alive the project. The funding for building the facility came from many parts: the Indonesian Ministry of Public Work has been in charge, along with the local government, and the help of the Rotary Club of Ubud. But then, for operational cost, it’s another battle.

The subsidies come from: the selling of the produced compost, the GHG emission reductions sold to another company, and the funding for being a CDM project. The expenses are mainly: buying the separated organic waste, the workers for producing the compost, the water oil and electricity needed by the installations, paying back the loans from the banks. In this complicated equation, the facility has the support of the local people, the local government and also the interested visit of other Indonesian or foreigner local government to assess a possible creation of the same facility.

For selling the GHG emission rights, there are two main markets: the Compliance market, where the price of the ton of CO2 is of 3€, and the Volontary market, with a price of around 6€. The facility is in the Volontary market, and has been lucky to be find as client the sustainable Swiss travel agency KUONI. Indeed, they buy the GHG emission right way above the market price, at 22CHF per ton of CO2.

Within the fund raising, the main effort David has to make is for obtaining the CDM approval of the project. The CDM evaluation for producing compost from waste is totally not coherent. On the one hand, the CDM gives money every year in function of the tons of GHG not emitted during the year. In our case, the landfill produces methane during 60 years. And all the waste that the facility treats is waste that will not go to the landfill. So the CDM gives money for this waste treated during the year. But also for methane avoided thanks to the waste treated the year before, and so on! So the CDM money naturally increases with the years passing. On the other hand, the investments needed are very high at the beginning, and lower later. Consequently, the facility had to borrow money to the bank to start its activity. In addition to this, an inspector of the CDM comes once a year to the facility to check all the accounts. And so it requires to explain in details not only the type of waste, its weight, but also to calculate the CO2 generated by the transport of the waste, by the production of electricity needed in the facility, ! even though it is a negligible quantity related to the GHG emission reductions.

In the laboratory next to David’s office, they control the quality of the produced compost, studying parameters such as the pH, the conductivity, quantity of ammonium, nitrites, nitrates, organic material, !. And they research the better ways of producing a good quality compost, along with other more “exotic” experiments, like using worms for decomposing the waste, !

After this very interesting visit, we have lunch in a small restaurant in the town of Gianyar. Then, we head back to Denpasar.

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We are totally submerged by the cars and scooter! it’s the rush hour, everyone going back home. We need more than two hours in this hell, with the heat, pollution, and constant attention to everything on the road. We arrive home before the sunset, exhausted but safe.