A little goes a long way – trying to be eco on your journey
Save Water! Water is a scarcity in Indonesia – especially clean fresh water!
- Don’t shower for hours on end.
- Don’t keep the water running unnecessarily and make sure all taps and showers are closed after use.
Potable Water and Buying Water
You should not drink water from the tap. Buying bottled water is unavoidable in Indonesia and there is one simple rule to follow:
- Don’t buy a new plastic water bottle every day. If you already have bought one or even better brought a reusable metal bottle from home, you can buy refills at our restaurant and most places around town.
- Turn off the lights during the day as well as the air fans when you are not in your room.
- Unplug your electronic devices once they are charged and turn them off completely when you don’t need them.
We do neither provide AC nor hot water at our homestay. Air conditioning systems as well as continuous flow heaters consume a huge amount of electricity and resources.
Everybody who has spent some time in Indonesia has seen the rubbish washed to the beaches, the roadside dumps, cities and natural sights overflown with plastic rubbish.
Proper waste management does not exist in Indonesia. Good “waste behaviour” is thus a major challenge.
Avoid producing waste whenever you can:
- Don’t take a plastic bag every time you go to the shop. Bring your own bag.
- Don’t buy the small shampoo and soap bottles or even worse the small plastic sachets so popular in Indonesia. A big bottle of shampoo produces much less waste than two small ones. And even better are of course bar soaps and shampoos with smaller often paper packaging.
- When buying soft drinks, a glass bottle is much better than plastic or aluminium cans.
- Buy cakes, pastries and sandwiches at the warung or restaurant instead of the supermarket where they are individually packed in plastic. Ask for a paper or banana leaf wrap or bring your lunchbox.
- Don’t leave any rubbish lying around on the beaches, in the forests or at the side of the road – collect it and bring it back to your hotel.
- Bring organic waste to our restaurant for composting (it also keeps the ants out of your room).
- If you have old batteries, broken electronic gadgets or any other hazardous waste, take it back home with you for correct recycling. There is no way we can properly recycle it here.
And, by the way, around 40% of plastic rubbish in Indonesia is shipped here from Europe, Australia, the USA and Canada so affluent countries don’t have to deal with sorting, recycling and disposing of it themselves.
Another thing to consider is that most areas in Indonesia do not have sewage treatment systems. In many places, wastewater is mostly just spilled into nature – the river, the ocean, the backyard, the rice field. And it all comes back to the people in contaminated rice and fish and polluted drinking water for those who can’t afford to buy filtered, clean water.
Think about your own behaviour:
- Don’t use excessive amounts of soap and shampoo.
- Don’t shower in rivers and lakes. If you can’t avoid it, for example on our Sumatran treks, maybe you can do without soap for once.
Don’t fly too much!
We are happy you are coming to Indonesia and take the long trip on an airplane. Flying is the most convenient way to get around Indonesia’s 17000 islands. But to reduce your carbon footprint, maybe you don’t need to visit as many as possible in three weeks. Choose where you want to go and find out if you can go there by bus, shared taxi, boat or ferry.
And of course, all these tips are worth following anywhere around the world – at your home and on your travels!
What else can you do?
It’s easy to get annoyed by the locals’ “dirty” behaviour but Indonesians for a long time didn’t have any, and nowadays, for the most part, just have very rudimentary environmental and health education in school and are not aware of the dangers environmental destruction causes for everybody’s health and wellbeing.
So why not support a project that promotes environmental education in Indonesia? For example:
Green Books, an eco-literacy project for Indonesian children
The Orangutan Project, in addition to rehabilitating orangutans recovered from the illegal wildlife trade, the project conducts educational programmes for local villagers in South Sumatra regarding orangutans, wildlife and environment, and works incessantly on rainforest and wildlife conservation.