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Jakarta start-up provides cleaning products without the plastics

Jakarta start-up provides cleaning products without the plastics

A worker holds a dispenser with cleaning liquid at a Siklus office before departing for customers' homes in Jakarta on May 19, 2021. The start-up refills household products in a bid to reduce plastic waste. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)

JAKARTA: Just a few hours after using a mobile app to order some dishwashing liquid, Jakarta resident Juweriah opens the door to a motorcycle courier who provides a direct refill in her kitchen.

Juweriah, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, is taking advantage of a rise in environmentally friendly businesses in a country that is the second-largest ocean plastic polluter in the world.

The 38-year-old homemaker orders products through Siklus, a start-up that provides cleaning and sanitary products minus plastic packaging to homes and businesses in the Indonesian capital.

"We can refill (the bottles) and reduce the amount of detergent plastic waste," Juweriah said. "Neighbours here have followed suit."

A worker prepares to top-up dispensers with cleaning liquid at a Siklus office in Jakarta on May 19, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana)
A deliveryman from Siklus arrives at a customer's house in Jakarta on May 19, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana) A deliveryman from Siklus, a start-up company which refills household products in a bid to reduce plastic waste, arrives at a customer's house in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 19, 2021. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

Siklus, launched in 2019, aims to reduce the number of products packaged in sachets, which are particularly popular among lower-income communities. Siklus means "cycle" in Bahasa Indonesia.

Selling for about 800 rupiah (US$0.05), single-use sachets give some of the poorest people in Asia access to everyday household essentials, but they also generate a significant amount of waste, clogging waterways and oceans.

Indonesia generates approximately 7.8 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, with 4.9 million tonnes of waste mismanaged, according to a World Bank report in May. Limited waste management collection infrastructure is one of the main problems, according to the report.

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Siklus chief executive Jane von Rabenau, 28, said that the response to the product had been positive, with the company increasing its customer base by around 15 per cent each week.

"People have always told me 'you're never going to change the behaviour, Indonesians don't care' and I was like, I really don't think so," she said. "I think Indonesians across all classes they see the plastic problem, and they care about their country, they care about making it better."

Jane Marlen von Rabenau, CEO and co-founder of Siklus, speaks during an interview at her office in Jakarta on May 25, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana) Jane Marlen von Rabenau, Chief Executive Officer & Co-founder of Siklus, a start-up company which refills household products in a bid to reduce plastic waste, speaks during an interview at her office in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 25, 2021. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

Jakarta food stall owner Husaifah was attracted to Siklus by low prices as well as its environmental credentials. Dispensing with packaging allows the company to significantly reduce end costs.

"It's practical," Husaifa said. "The cost is low, and we don't have to go out, it comes to us."

Source: Reuters/kg

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