21 September 2022

Australia and Indonesia tackle plastic pollution together

How our Good Design Award helped shine a light on plastic waste.

Tackling big problems head-on is a TGD specialty - and plastic pollution is a colossal one.

Thankfully, it’s starting to get the attention it not only deserves, but desperately needs.

Plastic waste is a global issue. Mismanaged plastic waste can have a detrimental effect on our environment, health and the economy. The Indonesian government aims to reduce marine plastic debris by up to 70% by 2025.

And so, the Plastics Innovation Hub Indonesia (the Hub) was born: a hybrid, virtual and face to face platform connecting experts, researchers, innovators, NGOs and investors from around the world.

Working together, we strove to rethink how we create, use and manage plastics. And, most importantly, put those ideas into action.


Plastic is a problem that knows no borders; no country is untouched in the war against ocean waste.

Indonesia recognises the need to address plastic waste and that Innovative solutions are needed to drive real change.

Kirana Agustina, Engagement Specialist for the National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) says she’s ‘always been inspired to protect our ocean…which is rich with ocean resources and marine diversity.’

The problem

Many countries, communities and individuals have tried confronting these issues over the years. But, despite the best of intentions, efforts can go to waste if different organisations are duplicating efforts - or not effectively communicating and sharing information.

‘There are so many complex problems in conserving our ocean,’ Kirana explains, ‘and this can only be done through collaboration and combining strengths to deliver positive results.’

The plan

The Hub was created to identify problem areas and unmet opportunities in Indonesia. And, crucially, bring those plans to life by working as one.

Its principles are based on solving real-world problems and needs that have been identified by on-the-ground stakeholders - not from afar.

This allows the Hub to support solutions that not only address symptoms, but tackle root causes for long-term change.

First step to kick off collaboration: conducting interviews and focus groups with a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including:

  • Government
  • Investors
  • Industry
  • Scientists
  • Startups
  • NGOs
  • Venture Builders

The stakeholder engagement provided the data needed to map the lifecycle of plastics in Indonesia and synthesise observed waste patterns.

These consultations also helped pull together a group of 80+ stakeholders to attend a Plastics Innovations Symposium.

The Plastics Innovation Symposium

It was here the stakeholders examined the plastics lifecycle more closely and debated where innovation and deep-tech were going to have the biggest impact.

And, with the insights gathered from the Symposium, a blueprint was developed to inform an implementation roadmap for the Hub - and the requirements to deliver and sustain impact.

To ensure long-term impact, the blueprint laid out a pathway toward financial sustainability by delivering a viable business model to attract additional partners to scale up the program.

GDA Plastics Hub Infographic Main

Plastics Innovation Hub Infographic, 2021

Setting priorities

With the blueprint firmly in hand, there was agreement amongst stakeholders that the Hub would initially target 3 challenge areas.

  • Sustainable alternatives that outperform existing plastics
  • Improving plastics and capturing value beyond first use
  • Empowering decision-making through reliable and accessible information
What does that mean for Hub participants? Put simply, they can:
  • Build deep connections with key stakeholders, customers and investors in a part of the world where their research/science can have a real impact
  • Tap into relevant, up-to-date information
  • Access seed funding to scale solutions

In other words, it’s a one-stop shop for reducing plastic waste.

The outcome/impact

One of the key elements of the Hub is harnessing diverse thinking and expertise.

Australian, Indonesian, and global partners can bring their unique perspectives to the table, learn from each other and, in the end, reach their goal faster.

And it’s been purposefully designed to support all kinds of initiatives.

The Hub will ensure it supports the work NPAP is leading in Indonesia including:

  • Engaging stakeholders to promote investment in tackling plastic waste and pollution

  • Developing a best-practice framework for measuring plastic waste reduction

  • Amplifying initiatives that help citizens and consumers form a more sustainable relationship with plastics.

Kirana says there’s a flexibility to the Hub that you don’t see in other environmental programs.

‘...the Hub provides opportunities…[for] different entry and exit points for participants and connects them with partner programs,’ she explains. ‘I think the Hub’s flexibility supports emerging or under-resourced initiatives, which is important for innovators… [to deliver] deep-tech solutions…’

The team

The TGD project team included:

  • Roberto Persivale

  • Rachel Stevens

  • Chloe Sterland

  • David Ireland

Once the Hub was established, there were 4 Curation teams set up:

  • Community team - providing guidance and support to the Hub’s participants’ journey through activities, and enabling feedback loops to collate data to inform future programs
  • Strategic team - charged with keeping the program on track, measuring its success, and onboarding new partners
  • Communications team - working with the Community team to manage resources and all communication channels
  • Pathway team - designing and delivering the program to participants

The future

As the world continues grappling with climate change, initiatives like the Hub become increasingly important.

As Kirana says:

‘I believe winning a Good Design Award means the initiative addresses the market needs with impactful and meaningful solutions,’ she says. ‘[And those designs]...are innovative, holistic and good for the environment. ‘Most importantly, [they are] the result of a great collaboration.’ — Kirana Agustina, Engagement Specialist for the National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP), 2022

Because it’s collaboration that’s helping us reduce Indonesian marine plastic by 70% by 2025.

Want to learn more?

Read more about how TGD are transforming ideas into impacts at tgd.global

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