Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world and the fourth most populous, with over 270 million people. The country has experienced rapid population growth across many of its inhabited islands, particularly in its urban centers—of which over half are located in coastal areas. By 2025, 68 percent of the country’s population is expected to live in urban areas, where it is estimated that only about half of generated waste is collected—the rest openly dumped or burned, with significant negative consequences for human health and the environment.

Across the islands, cultures, languages, and urban landscapes vary greatly, as do solid waste management systems and their levels of efficiency—challenging them to keep pace with continued growth and advance in ways that can curb ocean pollution and waste-linked greenhouse gas emissions.

Engagement Sites


At the national level, Clean Cities, Blue Ocean is supporting Indonesia to reduce land-based sources of ocean plastic pollution through its national Solid Waste Management Platform. As part of this work, the program is also engaging in sites throughout Indonesia to pilot solutions to stop the flow of plastic pollution, including:

  • In Kota Semarang, USAID is building local capacity for communities to manage solid waste aggregation facilities and enhance end markets; and empowering women to advance in the waste sector through training, mentorship, and the opportunity to receive funding to establish or expand entrepreneurial waste businesses.
  • In Kota Makassar, USAID is working with local grantees to increase waste management capacity, improve community recycling systems and waste bank facilities, and enhance local government participation..
  • In Kota Ambon, USAID is providing technical assistance to develop a Solid Waste Management Master Plan that will help the city to better understand its existing solid waste system and manage it more effectively.

Impacts and Results

In Indonesia, program impacts (to date) include:

  • Safely managed over 11,400 metric tons of waste. Of this, over 5,000 metric tons of plastic and other low-value waste—the equivalent of over half a billion plastic bottles—were prevented from leaking into the environment. 
  • Improved solid waste services and programs for nearly 3.6 million people through support to and partnerships with government entities, local organizations, and businesses.
  • Trained over 2,500 people from local government, informal waste sector, and local organizations to build local capacity for solid waste management planning and programs.
  • Mobilized nearly $3.8 million in public and private investment to advance local solid waste management systems.
  • Awarded over $3 million in grant funding to local partners to implement effective, locally-led solutions.

Program Grantees

  • Bina Karta Lestari Foundation (BINTARI) is conducting research in Semarang to  inform an integrated solid waste plan that improves the capacity of local material recovery facilities and waste banks. BINTARI is strengthening the capacity of community-based operators to run these facilities and engaging communities to adopt more sustainable solid waste management practices.
  • Milon Limbah Ambon has established a new factory in Ambon to offtake plastic waste, especially low value plastics (other than PET). The new facility is expected to increase quality and quantity of recycled materials, improving the economics of local recycling while engaging the community to reduce, reuse, and separate their plastic waste to be recycled.
  • Prevented Ocean Plastic Indonesia, a subsidiary of Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia, has established and is now running advanced collection and recycling infrastructure in the rapidly urbanizing cities of Semarang and Makassar to strengthen a supply chain model for recycled plastic.
  • Rebricks is introducing new recycling technology and recycled building material products, such as pavers, blocks, and bricks, to the local market that make use of low-value plastic waste, while supporting city development.
  • Systemiq is working to increase the value of low value plastics by piloting plastic and carbon credits to off-takers and a new aggregator to source materials from TPS3R, processed through a partner recycler.
  • Waste4Change, in collaboration with sub-grantee Green Moluccas and Yayasan Lestari Mulia Foundation, will respectively increase Ambon and Makassar’s waste management capacity by researching its existing conditions, systems, stakeholders, and value chains, which will inform new strategies for improved community-based management of TPS/3R and waste bank facilities, as well as improved local government participation in waste governance.
  • Yayasan Kesejahteraan Keluarga Soegijapranata Semarang (YKKS) is supporting Clean Cities, Blue Ocean’s Women in Waste Economic Empowerment (WWEE) Activity in Indonesia, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. YKKS supports the tailoring of and leads the delivery of WWEE’s Basic Business Skills and Empowerment Training (BBEST) and Advanced Business Skills training to women working in waste; supports graduates with coaching and mentoring to develop and pitch business plans for funding; and provides regular mentoring and monitoring support to participants as they establish and expand their waste and recycling businesses.