Indonesian Makers Work Towards Zero Food Waste

Energy & Sustainability Maker News Science
Indonesian Makers Work Towards Zero Food Waste

The SEA Makerthon is a summer-long regional hackathon taking place in 10 cities across Southeast Asia. It was organized by the Southeast Asian Makerspace Network (SEAMNET) to address issues concerning sustainability. The theme “Designing a World with Zero Waste” will be addressed by makers in different ways based on local needs and interests.

You can see other articles on the SEA Makerthon here.

Something was brewing in the streets of Cikini in central Jakarta on the sweltering Saturday afternoon of the 10th of September. While many people were avoiding the open spaces in favor of cooler grounds, groups of young Indonesians were interviewing street hawkers and passers-by about how much trash they generate on a daily basis. Puti Dita Anggasari (Dita), a 24 year-old environmentalist working in a local NGO, tried to blend in with the patrons of a street side stall to get a chance to interview a food seller.

Dita, 24 trying to speak to street side food sellers about food waste.

“We want to understand the mindset and awareness about food waste among the F&B (Food and Beverage) small business owners. There is no better way to do so than to hear it from them.” says Dita, who is among 50 other participants of the SEA Makerthon happening in Jakarta. “The street side peddlers of a popular local dessert known as the EsKelapa Muda, or Iced Coconut, came to Jakarta in 1960s in pursuit of the Indonesian Dream from nearby islands. Forty years later, they are still trying to make ends meet. The trash is simply mixed together and placed aside, if it ever gets disposed. It is hard to be environmentally friendly in such an environment.”

Shifting mindsets was central to discussions for the Jakarta SEA Makerthon 2016 as participants worked towards the goal of Zero Waste. Their focus was on Food Waste. Jakarta is the capital city of the 4th most populous country in the world, Indonesia. The event was joined by more than 50 members of the public, where participants were introduced to the problem of food wastes in Jakarta and the efforts taken by social groups to raise awareness about it. They then went out to the streets to get real feedback from stakeholders before convening to garner insights via empathy mapping. This framework helped teams lay out the assumptions they’ve had about the issue.

To Trash or Not to Trash

Adi from LabTanya, sharing his experience running the campaign – Kota TanpaSampah, City without Trash

“There is a staggering amount of waste going to BantarGebang, the town where trash from Jakarta is brought for disposal. It is commonly known as the TempatPembuanganAkhir or The Final Resting Place of the Trash” says Ignasius Susiadi Wobowo (Adi), the Cofounder of LabTanya. “About 6,500 tons of trash gets shipped from Jakarta everyday, and you can’t imagine the sheer volume without seeing it for yourself.” Sharing to the participants his experience in implementing the project Kota TanpaSampah , City Without Trash, he wants to broaden the public perspective about waste. “If the prototypes of this hackathon can be used as a tool to inspire Indonesians to be more conscious of the environment, that will be amazing!” quipped Adi.

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The BantarGebang Landfill. Photo credit:

IoT meets Sustainability

Teams spent the weekend creating their prototypes before getting them tested for feedback from the public. One team wanted to tackle the issue of reducing food waste via communal food sharing by using a food box incorporated with Beagle Bone Board and PS3 Eye-Camera to recognize food items placed within and sends a notification out to fellow app users. The intent of the box is to allow extra food to be shared so that food wastes get reduced in the longer term.

How do you make good products? By knowing your user.


Any space can be a makerspace with some determination and ingenuity.


Teamwork goes a long way!


Sensors and Big Data go together!


The future droids of waste collection in Indonesia!


Products that are created without the consideration for change in consumer behavior will only be effective. This team has made some really good graphics to accompany their plastics sorting product.


The presentations were very detailed and had good visuals.


Participants making their prototypes.


Participants getting feedback from the public for their prototypes.


The best way to test your product is by getting feedback from your expected users! Out of the building and into the streets!


Team Bagi Rasa (Give Taste) eventually emerged winners of the SEA Makerthon 2016: Jakarta!

Team Bagi Rasa consists of six people from different backgrounds: Architect, designer, electro Engineer, IoT engineer, and ecologist (Dhita, William, Nanda, Adhelia, Mutiara, and Siska respectively). The group made a platform for household consumers to share leftover food. Bagi Rasa is anti food-waste on demand; it allows users to share their leftover foods and connect with others who share the same needs through leftover-locker IoT hardware. The prototype has a unique approach based on the group-buying behavior of a household menu engineered for zero-waste dietary supplies.

Bagi Rasa has shown us that the circular economy approach using IOT is possible to deliver real change towards redefining a smart city into circular city #kotatanpasampah (zero waste city).

Imanzah Nurhidayat (I-Boy) of Make-do-nia is the main organizer of the makerthon. He believes that a collaborative effort is needed to push for the idea of a “circular economy”. He brought together partners from LabTanya, Ke:kini and Unjukin Lab to organize the campaign #StoriesInspireChange, a public sharing series that details the experiences of environmental campaigns and their impact to the community. This Makerthon was part of the 4th installment of #StoriesInspireChange and the next event is slated for early October. More information can be found on their Facebook page.

To see more photos of the makerthon, do check them out here!

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All the prototypes, organizers and participants from the SEA Makerthon 2016: Jakarta. We had a blast and we hope to see everyone again soon!

The SEA Makerthon 2016 is a 10 city hackathon addressing the Zero Waste Challenge that will see over 1000 participants across 10 South East Asian Cities, each solving waste issues pertaining to their city such as electronics, food, agriculture, packaging and more. Sustainable Living Lab is proud to be the social innovation partner for the SEA Makerthon 2016 in leading the conversation about the Circular Economy in the region.

To find out more, join the Southeast Asian Makerspace Network.

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