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One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

In our previous post, “The Battle of Earth Inhabitants : It Started with You!“, we already learned about the connection between waste (landfill) and climate change through the commemoration of National Waste Care Day. We also give you tips on simple acts of care to mother Earth. Now, we will learn about the circular economy ーone of the solutions to solve environmental issuesー and acknowledge women leaders who adopted the system.

Mother Earth representation. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia
Mother Earth is a source of life. Source: Pinterest (

Mother Earth

Have you ever wondered why we refer to our Earth as a mother? In Greek Mythology, Gaea is a personification of Earth as a goddess who is the giver of dreams and the nourisher of plants and young children (Encyclopedia Britannica Editors, 2019). Like the mother womb, this earth is also a place where every living creature conceives and gets nourishment. As a thankful child, we must give back by taking care of our mother Earth. One possible way is by adopting a circular economy.

Circular Economy

Speaking of sustainability, some of you might be familiar with the term circular economy. A circular economy is a closed-loop economic system aimed to minimize waste and maximize the continuous use of resources. It is much more sustainable than the traditional linear economy with a ‘make, use, dispose’ model. Circular systems employ reuse and extend goods life through repair, remanufacture, refurbish, or turn used-goods into as-new by recycling. It also minimizes resource inputs, generation of waste, pollution, and carbon footprint (Stahel, 2016).

Flow of a circular economy. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia
The flow of a circular economy. Source: Nature (Stahel, 2016; modified)

The objective of a circular economy is to maximize value at each point of product life. Keeping goods in longer use will improve the productivity of the resources. The reprocessing of goods and materials also creates new job opportunities. There will be a need for collection points for users and manufacturers to take, bring, or buy back discarded goods. Reusable goods need to be cleaned and re-marketed; recyclables need to be sorted and classified according to their residual value (Stahel, 2016).

Women and Sustainability

International Women’s Day falls on the 8th of March. Women's protective instinct towards their children and family makes them a frontline in influencing change and taking action in protecting the Earth. Here are some inspiring women leading a sustainable organization:

1. ZeroWaste:

Co-Founder Zero Waste Indonesia. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia

Zero Waste Indonesia (ZWID) is the first online-based community in Indonesia established in 2018 by Maurilla Imron and Kirana Agustina aims to invite Indonesian people to adopt Zero Waste Lifestyle. Zero Waste Lifestyle is a lifestyle to minimize the overall individual waste produced entering a landfill to preserve the environment.

ZWID actively spreads awareness about the importance of adopting responsible waste management by implementing 5R (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot). You can find many practical tips about the zero-waste lifestyle, information regarding waste management issues and their relationship with environmental sustainability, also a catalog of local businesses that sell sustainable products.

Zero Waste Indonesia Logo. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia

With the vision to be a one-stop-solution platform and information center about zero-waste lifestyle in Indonesia, the ZWID platform is available for individuals, environment activists, the community, and anyone who cares about environmental sustainability to gather. Three purposes of the platform are as a medium to inform, educate, and collaborate. They also aim to reach these four elements as a key towards a change: community, media, government, and industry players.

2. Bye Bye Plastic Bags

Co-Founder Bye Bye Plastic Bags. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia

‘Do not let your age define you’ is a saying that these Balinese sisters have accomplished at a very young age. Melati and Isabel Wijsen started a Bye Bye Plastic Bags (BBPB) movement in 2013 at the age of 10 and 12, respectively. It has grown into an inspirational international movement, youth empowerment, and making people get used to saying NO to plastic bags.

BBPB is a non-governmental organization driven by youth to say NO to plastic bags. They envision a world free of plastic bags and where the young generation is empowered to take action. The mission is to empower people to do what is right through education, campaigns, and political meetings. Start making that difference one bag at a time.

Bye Bye Plastic Bags Logo. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia

People have a huge place in the heart of BBPB. Therefore, education is the first pillar of focus. Their education plan is to raise awareness and educate people about the danger of plastic on the environment, animals, and health. The second pillar is showing solutions. They act as a role model by showcasing their works, allowing people to see different ways to be a part of the solutions. The third pillar is policy. They successfully influenced Bali’s governor to make a plastic policy through their campaign. This event could inspire the government in other areas to adopt the same policy. Global is the fourth and last pillar. They share their message in front of global leaders by creating BBPB Teams in over 25 locations worldwide.

3. Garda Pangan

Garda Pangan Founder. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia

Garda Pangan is a food bank based in Surabaya led by Eva Bachtiar as the CEO and co-founder with Dedhy Trunoyudho and his wife, Indah Audivtia. The idea to establish a food bank came up when Dedhy and Indah, as wedding caterers, faced a food waste problem in every post-wedding event.

Partnering with Eva Bachtiar, a food bank was established. They rescue food from industry partners and crops from farmers, then distribute it to underprivileged people (e.g. orphanages, nursing houses, shelter houses, and others). Garda Pangan envisions Indonesia with zero hunger by improving food surplus distribution and management according to the food recovery hierarchy.

Garda Pangan Logo. National waste care day, Circular Economy, Women and Sustainability. CarbonEthics Indonesia

They have several programs: food rescue, food drives, weddings and events, gleaning, campaigns, and kids education. In food rescue, they distribute potential edible food being wasted from hospitality industries to those who are food insecure. They also gather and distribute food surplus from weddings and events. In food drives, they seasonally stockpile and distribute food donations to people who cannot afford food. Gleaning means gathering leftover crops from farmers' fields which is not economically profitable to harvest. Through the campaigns, they unleash their creativity to spread awareness on food-waste to individuals and the community. They also believe that people need to be nurtured at an early age to appreciate food that can further reduce food waste. Therefore, they have a kids education program delivered in a fun way through interactive games.


From the examples, we can learn that small acts matter, and what we see as trash can be seen as a treasure for other people. We already know the concept of circular economy and some of the examples. Now is your turn as a future leader to put circular economy and sustainability at the heart of your work. Either you plan to establish an organization or business, working in government or media, as an influencer or artist, and even in our lifestyle. We need to rethink and consider the impact of our work on Mother Earth as our lives depend on it.

If you enjoy reading this article, please tune-up for the next post! While waiting, consider checking out our free crash course to climate change and blue carbon ecosystem called Carbon Voice Curriculum or support us by visiting our website (we have cute and powerful babies for you to adopt!). Lastly, I would like to invite all of you, readers, to reduce what you can, offset what you cannot with CarbonEthics.


Bye Bye Plastic Bags. (2018). About. Accessed on 12/03/2021 from

Encyclopedia Britannica Editors. (2019, 14 February). Gaea. [Article]. Britannica. Accessed on 14/03/2021 from

Garda Pangan. (2018). Tentang Kami. Accessed on 22/03/2021 from

Stahel, W. R. (2016). The Circular Economy. Nature 531(7595), 435 - 438. DOI:10.1038/531435a

Zero Waste Indonesia. (2019). About Zero Waste Indonesia. Accessed on 12/03/2021 from

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