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Exploring women’s role in waste management

In order to explore and maintain the gender perspective of waste management, CLOCC has interviewed women in Banyuwangi to gain their insight from managing waste in households.

The research found that the women have a positive influence on waste management and maintain a fairly high source separation rate.

Women often play a significant role in the management of waste in households in Indonesia, and can therefore provide valuable and accurate insights on waste management practises. They are typically the ones in charge of sorting and disposing of the family’s waste. Consequently, both their perspectives and establishing a waste management system that fits their preferences, is essential.

The women interviewed came from diverse backgrounds, including women's empowerment activists in the districts, housewives, teachers and small businesses owners.

Segregation at source is high

A positive finding from the research was that many women segregate waste. According to the participants, most households segregate the waste into two or three categories.

The materials that are commonly segregated are solid plastic, carton, paper, cans and glass. These are the most commonly accepted materials in the waste banks. These are often sold to the waste bank, or given away to waste collectors.

Many households also segregate their waste based on valuable waste that can be sold, and waste that is not valuable (organics and residue). The valuable waste is usually sold to waste buyers or waste banks. The waste that is not valuable, such as face masks, is often burned in the backyard or dumped off a cliff or in the river.

Several of the women also bury their organic waste in their backyard, and use the soil mixed with degraded organic waste for their gardens. In the villages that have formal waste collection, the households dispose of the waste in the waste bins.

Suggestions for better household waste management

The women participating in the research suggested that home composting can facilitate better waste management, but might not work well in every household as it depends on personal awareness and commitment.

A further suggestion was training and socialization of treating waste, especially organic waste for women and children. These trainings can happen through religious events, family gatherings and so on.

They also encouraged the creation of a system for supervision and facilitation who participate in monitoring and evaluating the community’s waste management practises, where also children can be involved.

CLOCC’s assumption is that when people dump their waste in the wrong place it is often because there is no right place available for them. For the CLOCC team members it is inspiring to discover that many good practices already exist in the homes. CLOCC and its partners are working to develop the system to provide better options to dispose of their waste and recover the resources.

These insights are part of a larger data collection to explore waste management in Banyuwangi, Indonesia. The study will be published at


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