Bali has been deemed one of the most beautiful islands in the world – and for good reason. The beaches, climate and carefree lifestyle make it one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
The good news is that the urgency for cleaner waterways, recycling, reducing plastic use and eco-tourism has been realised in the past few years.
Many businesses and organizations in Bali are working towards making the island more sustainable so future generations of humans and animals can continue to enjoy Bali and all that it has to offer.
Sungai Watch is an organization dedicated to making every river in Indonesia cleaner by 2025, starting in Bali.
They aim to develop and redesign simple technologies to stop the flow of plastic pollution from going into the ocean. They believe their solution is simple – the installation of trash barriers.
By implementing barriers, it is easier to understand precisely what is polluting our waterways and how action can then be taken. Bali has been Sungai Watch’s testing grounds and they have tested various types of barriers. In 2021, Sungai Watch installed 105 barriers around Bali and diverted more than 333,000 kgs of rubbish from Bali’s rivers. Currently, they are working on a recycled trash barrier which is essentially made from the trash in the rivers.
Sungai Watch also organises emergency cleanups and hosts mass education and socialisation campaigns with the local community to educate people about better rubbish behaviour.
If you would like to help, there are several ways to get involved with Sungai Watch. You can sponsor a barrier, organise a fundraiser with your school or community and report any dirty river you come across.
Online transport and food delivery has changed the way people both live and holiday in Bali over the past 7 years. Grab SuperApp though is more than just a handy way to get around and order food, this company takes its social responsibility seriously and the “Grab for Good” program is helping Bali in its move towards becoming a more sustainable island.
Langkah Hijau is Grab’s recycling program. Bali visitors and residents can collect their recyclable waste and send it to their closest recycling plant via GrabExpress. Grab allows for a 40,000 Rp discount on delivery by using promo LANKAHHIJAU, meaning you can send your recycling to the plant for free from most places in Bali!
Click here for a step-by-step guide on how to recycle with Grab in Bali
Grab Electric is the company’s initiative to have electric vehicles available for both food delivery and transport. Grab has cooperated with Bali’s National Electricity Company (PLN), the Bali Department of Transportation, Pegadaian LET, Astra Honda Motors and Panasonic to become the first official company operating over 5000 electric vehicles in Indonesia. They have also built 7 different battery exchange stations around different locations in Bali.
Alila Villas Uluwatu
Alila Villas Uluwatu is a perfect example of eco-tourism. They aim to minimize their impact on the environment by adhering to a policy of environmental sustainability design (ESD). There are several ways in which they are doing this.
Alila Villas Uluwatu was the first resort in Indonesia to receive the highest level of certification from EarthCheck as a Best Practice Building Planning and Design (BPDS) development. They also use local, sustainable and recycled materials as well as local plants from the Bali savannah ecosystem, and conserve water with a waste management system and with soaks and rain gardens. The resort is also a signatory of the UN’s Global Tourism Plastics Initiative which was launched in 2020 by the UN Environment Programme and the World Tourism Organisation in collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
When it comes to recycling and upcycling, the resort aims to reduce its waste production as much as possible. They make glasses from glass bottles (they have a zero policy on plastic water bottles), tiles from broken glass, and ceramic and pots from buggy tires.
Alila Villas Uluwatu is so committed to the cause, that they even have an on-site laboratory where all waste streams are turned into higher-value products and services. They also produce their own drinking water using a water purification system.
Since June 1st, 2021, Alila Villas Uluwatu vowed to stop using single-use plastic and they have taken this vow seriously. You won’t find any plastic food packaging, bags, or cutlery throughout the resort or back of the house.
When it comes to design and style, the resort has done its utmost to blend in with the surrounding nature. This has been made possible by award-winning Singapore architectural firm, WOHA which is renowned for designing innovative sustainable structures in tropical environments.
Alila Villas Uluwatu uses lava rocks as a means to absorb heat from the hot weather conditions in Bali. Lava rocks are efficient in that they act as natural insulation, meaning air conditioning needs to be used less, they control weed growth and they tend to be resistant to losing their color.
All compost is used in Alila Villas Uluwatu’s organic garden. This year, the villa’s created their own Chilli Garden that has 4 types of chili growing. The chili is a staple ingredient in Balinese cooking as are lemongrass, citronella, fruit, edible flowers, and herbs – all produce grown in the garden.
Many of the resort’s amenities are made from biodegradable and compostable materials, like bamboo straws and dental kits. These are small changes, but they add up.
Alila Villas Uluwatu has partnered up with several organizations around the island as they believe sustainability starts within a community. Their partners include:
a community-based pig farm that picks up food waste to feed their pigs
a local recycling company
they recycle soap, candles and plastic bottle caps
they handle electronic and hazardous waste
a community-based pig farm that picks up food waste to feed their pigs
Potato Head is dedicated to ensuring that all aspects of its company are sustainable and eco-friendly. It is important for them that they create an amazing experience for their guests by taking a conscious approach.
In 2018, Potato Head Beach Club was awarded the Most Sustainable Bar by Asia’s 50 Best Bars. Katamama (the Potato Head Suites) and the Beach Club are certified as climate neutral by the United Nations Climate Neutral Now initiative.
They offer their guests The Zero Waste Kit, which is full of recycled and sustainable products. All their amenities are refillable and local brands and their merchandise is made from Tencel™ fabric. This is a natural material made from the pulp of fast-growing Eucalyptus trees. It is 100% biodegradable and anti-bacterial and uses 80% less water than cotton.
When it comes to food and drink, Potato Head thinks consciously about where its ingredients come from. Their Conscious Cocktails bar program ensures that they source all their fruit seasonally and that nothing goes to waste. All the cocktail ingredients are local and sustainable alternatives are used.
Potato Head has partnered up with some of Bali’s leading sustainability organisations. They work with Yayasan Lengis Hijau, Bali Fresh Farm Cooperative, Bali Sustainable Seafood, the UNESCO-protected Jatiluwih rice terraces, BioSystems and Sustainism Lab.
Potato Head acts as a platform for its suppliers to grow their sustainable businesses. They welcome all suppliers to be a part of their community and create a value chain relationship. In addition to this, they gladly receive other businesses around the island to join their workshops to demonstrate how they too can reduce their waste and become more sustainable.
In 2018, Potato Head committed to supporting Green School’s Changemaker program. This program sponsors young Balinese students to attend the Green School for their primary and secondary education.
One of the things we love the most about Potato Head is their initiative to share their learnings with other venues. Potato Head regularly invites and hosts staff from other resorts and restaurants to educate them on changes they can make in their own venues to reduce their waste and become more sustainable.
When you visit Potato Head you too can go and take a look at their workshop where you’ll see candles being made from leftover cooking oil, oyster shells being ground down to make home decor items, and more!
Zero Waste Bali is a bulk food grocery store whose aim is to provide as many food and eco products, plastic and package-free. They also offer tips and advice for anyone who wants to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.
The store has more than 700 organic and non-organic healthy food and eco products and is Bali’s first bulk food grocery store offering online ordering, a deli and delivery and refill service.
Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags, containers and jars to the store when shopping and if you don’t have your own, the store sells them. If you are in a hurry, the staff will help you package your items or you can pre-order your items online and pick them up or have them delivered.
Whether you live in Bali or you are a tourist on a holiday, we can all do our part to ensure we are contributing to a more sustainable, cleaner and brighter future. It doesn’t take much – a few minor changes throughout the day can already make such a big difference. We are all in this together and when we work as a community, change can be made.