by Dames Alexander Sinaga
JAKARTA, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- In North Jakarta, residents are experiencing an unusual business in their neighborhood. The more recyclables like aluminium cans, cardboard and copper scrap they collect, the more gold await them.
Sounds like too good to be true? Residents of Bermis Gading neighborhood are enjoying the gold rush. Here is how the scheme works.
The recyclables the participant has collected must be weighed at the Wijaya Kusuma waste bank, managed by some housewives around the neighborhood.
The waste is then sold to the North Jakarta administration, which promises to buy the recyclables every Tuesday fortnight.
When Xinhua visited the neighborhood last Monday, the current scrap price of 1 kilogram of aluminium was about 10,000 rupiah (70 U.S. cents), while 1 kg of cardboard is about 1,000 rupiah.
After collecting the money from the administration, those wanting to invest their revenues in gold can simply deposit the cash in public pawnshop PT Pegadaian, which has been partnering with the Wijaya Kusuma waste bank since April.
The waste bank itself was established in 2017, initiated by Bermis Gading residents for better waste management in the area.
People from outside neighborhood are also welcomed to join the "Turn Waste into Gold" program. To join, residents must first open gold savings accounts at Pegadaian.
Sulistiyowati Soepomo, a local resident, has joined the program on the day it started. She has been putting a bit more thought into the way she manage her household waste since then.
"Now, I have some 15 grams of gold. This scheme is very attractive for us. In fact, children here have considered that recyclables are valuable," the 51-year-old woman said.
To date, more than 110 individuals, mostly housewives, have become members of the program in the waste bank.
Damar Latri Setiawan, who is the director of network, operations and sales at Pegadaian, said the program was expected to create a better waste management system and encourage people to invest in gold in the pawnshop.
According to him, Pegadaian currently partners with around 60 waste banks nationwide, including Jakarta, Palembang, Banjarmasin and Makassar. Each waste bank has at least 100 customers in the gold deposit scheme.
"We want to reward people selling their recyclables to the waste bank with gold savings. We reward them based on the value of their waste weight," Setiawan told Xinhua on Tuesday.
He said the program has also helped the company in promoting its products around local communities.
"One of the benefits of the program for us is channel marketing. Some working in the waste bank also have marketing agent roles," Setiawan said.
He expressed hopes that the program would attract more people to invest in gold by selling their recyclables to waste banks partnering with the pawnshop. By doing that, the community also contributes to the government's program in waste reduction.