Currently, waste and the tourism industry are like two lines that move away from each other. If a city is filled with garbage, the performance of the tourism industry will be dismal. Who is a tourist who wants to come to a dirty city, lots of flies, and smells like a pile of garbage? Garbage that is not managed properly also causes flooding and even becomes a breeding ground for disease. Who are the tourists who want to come to a city that is always flooded and becomes a hotbed of disease?
So, the gap between the waste line and the tourism industry line is widening. Efforts to bring the waste line closer and the tourism industry line closer were carried out by a lecturer in the Environmental Engineering Study Program, Faculty of Engineering, President University (PresUniv), Dr. Ir. Yunita Ismail Masjud, M.Sc., through the Community Service (PKM) program with the theme Implementation of Digital Sustainable Living through Community Engagement in Supporting Jababeka Smart Township Initiative. In her PKM activity, Yunita collaborated with two other PresUniv lecturers, namely Felix Goenadi, S.PSI, M.Par. and Ihsan Giftah, SE, B.IBM, MSM.
Yunita explained her activities in an international seminar on community service which took place in a hybrid manner, Monday-Thursday (20-23 December 2021). This seminar was organized by PresUniv in collaboration with PT Jababeka & Co. and FabLab, an institution engaged in HR training and Industry 4.0-based business development. Yunita's program received funding assistance from the Independent Learning Policy Research Program for the Independent Campus and Research Results-Based Community Service and PTS Prototypes, the Directorate General of Higher Education, Research and Technology for the 2021 fiscal year.
Yunita said this process starts with sorting waste at the household level. Waste is separated into three categories, namely, can be reused (reuse), can be recycled (recycled), and increased use (upscaled). In order for households to be willing to segregate their waste, incentives are needed from the Waste Bank—which makes waste economically valuable. The sorted waste is then periodically collected.
At the collection point, the waste is processed into various products. For example, food waste can be processed into maggot, which is a protein-rich mixture suitable for animal feed. Then, the remaining waste in the form of vegetables and fruits can be processed into enzymes for disinfectants. Then, other organic waste can be converted into organic fertilizer or compost, made into briquettes and the results are marketed to the industry, or processed again into various raw materials. "Essentially, all processed products from the waste have economic value," said Yunita.
Then, what is the relationship between waste processing and the tourism industry? Yunita explained, there are several hotels that already use furniture that is produced from waste-based processed materials, such as used paper or cardboard. Then, the results from processed plastic waste can also be used as raw materials for making garment products and various other crafts. In the Tanjung Lesung area, Banten, PresUniv and Jababeka foster local communities in processing waste from various plants to make various handicraft products. This product is then marketed online through the Window Tanjung Lesung website.
Regions can also develop agro-industry which in its cultivation process uses organic fertilizers. Organic agricultural products like this usually have a higher selling value.
All of these products, whether organic farming or handicrafts, continued Yunita, can be a special attraction for the tourism industry in the area. Especially if the product is very distinctive and unique, and only exists in a certain area. All of these products can support efforts to develop the regional tourism industry. “People really appreciate it if there is a hotel whose furniture products or various other products use raw materials from recycled waste. So, with increasing public awareness of environmental issues, hotels that use a lot of recycled products can become their main attraction,” said Yunita.
If this kind of condition can continue to be developed, said Yunita, the “garbage line” and the “tourism industry line” that used to move away from each other can become closer to each other. "That's what we're doing right now," he said.
Only efforts to realize such things often still run into obstacles. One of them is information. For example, the community does not have information on where to distribute the waste that they have sorted. They also don't know where the Garbage Banks are located in an area. Then, on the other hand, those who process waste also often find it difficult to find waste as raw material. Even the users of processed waste products, such as industries that use briquettes as fuel, often find it difficult to find briquettes. So, there must be a party that brings together all these stakeholders. This concept is being developed by Yunita through her Jababeka Smart Township Initiative.
In developing her initiative, Yunita carries the 4C model which includes Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce. He further explained that waste management is one of the activities in environmental conservation. This effort must be carried out by the community, and the benefits must be felt by the community. "Besides in the form of economic value, there are other benefits that the community can reap, such as a cleaner and healthier environment," he said. Then, these efforts must also have commercial value and contribute to the development of local culture. "So, each C in the 4C model must support each other," said Yunita.
To integrate all stakeholders involved in waste management and waste utilization, a digital-based application is needed. In developing this application, said Yunita, PresUniv collaborated with Fablab. So, Fablab will help develop digital applications that are able to integrate all the resources involved in the chain of management and utilization of waste and its processed products. "If this effort gains support from all stakeholders, I am optimistic that the waste line and the tourism industry line will one day meet at one point," Yunita concluded.