We love to travel. We also love to recycle. In modern life, it’s more common than ever to travel across the world and visit places different to our own. In search of adventure, culture, and stories to share. We believe it’s so important to consider the impact we have on each place when visiting. Watch how Keep Bali Beautiful is doing just that.
Bali has become something of a haven for western travellers looking to relax and experience their own slice of paradise. I wonder how much the film, “Eat, Pray, Love” has had to do with that? Probably, quite a lot. Sorry to say, Bali is nothing like the film, It is so much more complex than it makes out.
With an influx of tourism, the idyllic island of Bali is drowning in plastic, affecting the land, water and wildlife. Keep Bali Beautiful is a grassroots recycling program, that partners with Balinese schools and villages to build a sustainable recycling network. Changing the beliefs and habits that lead to pollution in the first place.
One of the best experiences we had while visiting Bali wasn’t going to a yoga class, practising guided meditation on our porch or watching the sunset from the beach. It was our morning spent with the team at Keep Bali Beautiful. Speaking with Puji, one of the head volunteers was beyond inspirational and I will remember it for years to come. Puji has some much passion for the subject of waste solutions and recycling. She truly believes in the work she is doing and works with younger locals to teach and involve them too.
We booked to go on the eat, pray, recycle tour via Airbnb experiences. I found it while just browsing the site and I am so glad. This is a social impact experience where 100% of what you pay goes to Keep Bali Beautiful. A very just cause worth supporting, but it’s also an informative and inspiring day out for everyone.
We learnt that the government supports their recycling efforts, but they actually receive no funding. So visitors are helping not just by picking up rubbish but literally helping keep them going. The least we can do to help spread the word.
Their dream is big. To create recycling centres in villages all over Bali. Educating locals as they go, about the benefits of waste reduction and waste management. You will hear from the video how helpful this is to the locals, not just keeping things neater but also helping reduce diseases. Keeping Bali the travel destination we all envision it to be.
What to expect:
First, we arrived to a welcome of tea and snacks with an introduction to what Keep Bali Beautiful is all about. We felt very relaxed, we were on no tight schedule, and we chatted freely about the topic of waste. Currently, it is such a huge problem, trust me, we had a lot to discuss.
We drove to the beach on the back of a truck, something which we particularly enjoyed. Watching the vivid green rice fields roll by, seeing the real Bali, no tourists, just life.
Next, we stopped off at the Watu Klotok temple for a traditional Balinese ceremony next to the beach, where Puji talked us through their daily prayer routine. We had seen many locals doing this during our visit and it felt special to partake.
We thought about how grateful we are of the sun and the water that gives life, while Sari sang beautifully. This is the singing you can hear at the beginning and end of the video. Finishing off with the blessing of rice on our foreheads and neck. You could tell how much this meant to them, it was a beautiful moment and a truly authentic experience for us.
We walked on to the black sand beach where other Balinese people were doing their ceremony, and just started picking. It was a really hot day, picking up rubbish is hard work. We spent about an hour on our plastic-filled “treasure” hunt. From this quick sweep, we easily filled two big bags of the unfortunate loot. Then headed to the recycle centre where the staff were super friendly and upcycled bottles used as planters lined the area. We learned in depth all the good work they are doing there. Creating recycled compost, sorting rubbish and coming up with creative ways to use plastic again.
Puji told us about their 5 R’s (new ones I’d never hear before and love):
Recycle – Starting easy. Paper, plastic, glass, magazines, electronics, Clothes and more can be processed into new products while using fewer natural resources. Recycle as much as you can, where ever you can.
Reduce – Purchase products that require less or no plastic packaging, limit the waste you are producing as much as possible so there is less to recycle.
Reuse – Purchase reusable products to limit the waste you are producing. Coffee cups, straws, cutlery, water bottles, napkins, tote bags. There are so many great options available to us.
Redemption – Minimise the waste ending up in landfill where you can, reuse old jam jars as storage containers, tins as plant pots, share old clothes with friends, get creative with your waste.
Re-energise – Turning waste into a new source of energy, that can be used in place of coal, or wood for example. At the recycling centre, they have found a way to turn organic waste into pellets that do just this. It is a great idea that we had never seen before.
After this, we went to have lunch, a beautiful home cooked vegetarian meal and made key chains from discarded plastic. I said to Puji we were actually expecting Bali to be worse. We’d heard so many people talk about the rubbish problem in Bali, we were there in a quieter season but were generally pleasantly surprised by how little rubbish we had seen.
So as a little extra Puji wanted to show us places where the rubbish build up was bad. We followed her on our scooter for about 20 minutes. We pasted some of the most beautiful landscapes we had seen but all the way Puji wasn’t pointing out the beauty. She was pointing at the rubbish lined roads in front. From then on where ever we went we noticed the rubbish a lot more. Isn’t it a sad state of affairs that now, there are not many places in the world where plastic litter doesn’t exist.
We left feeling like we had made one of the most genuine connections and hopefully new friends.
Reflections On The Day.
I left feeling totally inspired thinking of ways we can reuse our own rubbish intake even more, but bigger scale. With a dream of one day making something cool of our own. Maybe, we can make commercial sellable items created from plastic?
We felt totally uplifted to have spent the day with Puji and the other volunteers. These are the kinds of connections were seeking out while travelling. Travelling with a purpose. Hoping to learn along the way. Not just about ourselves but the real problems we are facing in the world and the people behind the solutions. Making it their business to help be a part of a positive environmentally friendly movement. Affecting real change.
This is a global problem. We all have a part to play. We all share the world and the responsibility. It is time to get serious about what we can all do to help.
Governments are proving slow on providing real large scale solutions. Unfortunately, no surprises there. The more we show we care about the environment, the more they will panic and rally. Making us believe they are the party to help and vote for. Let us keep applying the necessary pressure, it is working.
I hope Keep Bali beautiful can progress with their pioneering work in Bali. In the UK we can become one of the world pioneers in how to responsibly deal with the plastic crisis.
Please help us to keep Bali and the world beautiful! We hope this has inspired you.
We hope you enjoyed watching and reading. If you are visiting Bali we urge you to go on this tour for yourself. We are never too good to pick up peoples trash and it is a great way to give back to a wonderfully welcoming Island. Click here to book.
Love, Lottie xx
Into The Eco
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