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Will Opening A Recycling Depot In Every Bali Village Solve Waste Woes?

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Bali’s biggest landfill site is experiencing its 21st consecutive day of fires, and dozens more fires are raging around the island.

From trash fires to house fires and wildfires on the slopes of Mount Abang, a huge conversation is underway between Bali lovers about how waste can be managed moving forward. 

Will Opening A Recycling Depot In Every Bali Village Solve Waste Woes?

Technically speaking, Bali’s open landfill sites were due to permanently close before the G20 Summit was held on the island in November 2022.

Despite efforts across the island, the biggest landfill sites across each of the island’s nine regencies remain open, and until fires broke out three weeks ago were all accepting tonnes upon tonnes of waste every day

There are two main types of waste disposal facilities in Bali. First is the TPA, which is an unsorted, open landfill site. The second are the TPSTs, referred to as TS3Rs, which are facilities where waste is processed and divided into organic, inorganic, recyclable, and non-recyclable. 

As Suwung TPA, in South Denpasar continues to blow plumes of toxic smoke up and out across the island, officials have blocked any further waste from being dumped at the facility.

Other fires at Mandung TPA in Tabanan and Temesi TPA in Gianyar have also meant that waste has been directed to other TPAs and TP3Rs across the island. A new open landfill was even opened in Kelating Village in Tabanan Regency in the last few days. 

The Kelating TPA has been receiving dozens of trucks filled with unprocessed waste every day, and the village’s once pristine paddy fields have been turned over into landfills.

Everyone is in agreement that something must change, and fast. The issue of waste management is impacting every community in Bali and is starting to impact tourists too. 

One local leader in South Kuta, Ketut Gede Arta, has told reporters about his experience of the landfill fires and subsequent issues with waste disposal and how he thinks the issue could be resolved. But is it too little too late?

Arta has been keeping a close eye on the Samtaku Integrated Waste Disposal Site (TPST) on Jalan Goa Gong, in the popular vacation resort of Jimbaran.

The site has been taking on a huge amount of additional trash over the last few weeks since the fires broke out.

Arta said that the processing facility, which is just a 3-minute drive from 5-star hotels like The Beverly Hills Bali and a 14-minute drive from the entrance to the GWK Festival Park, is usually able to process 40-50 tons of waste every day.

It is one of the biggest facilities on the Bukit Peninsula, the last stop before Suwung TPA, just to the north.

He explained to reporters, “We have visited the Samtaku TPST after the Suwung landfill burned down. If the situation is normal, Samtaku can accommodate 40-50 tons of waste per day.”

“However, due to the current situation, it can accommodate up to 75 tonnes of waste.” But the facility won’t be able to keep up with the increased pressure for much longer. Something that is already being seen at TPSTs around the island.


Arta is calling on all villages and sub-districts in Bali to develop their own TPST-integrated processing facilities.

He said, “For example at the Tanjung Benoa TPST, even though the current situation is overloaded, the Tanjung Benoa TPST is ready. Because waste can be handled in the village itself.”

“Even though the location is in a densely populated residential area, it can still run because the regulations are good and it can be imitated by others.”


He continued, “We encourage in the future each village or sub-district to have a TPS3R. In Pecatu Village [Uluwatu resort] now there is no rubbish problem because there is TPS3R. The problem is only the residue.” 

“We will carry out evaluations in the future. Hopefully, new TP3Rs can be built in several places.”

Arta says that the village-based recycling facilities must be strategically managed, not only to be out of sight of tourism areas but also managed so that the smell of the facilities does not disturb local communities and tourism resorts. 


He concluded, “We just need to develop a new 3R TPS. We want to make this happen because we remember we are in a tourism [island]. 

“If this waste becomes a problem, then guests will automatically not come here again.”

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Thursday 2nd of November 2023

Having a local TPS in each village with today system will lead to unbearable smell and pest problems and seepage into creeks and rivers.

People need to start separating at SOURCE (their home) the organic (smelly) trash away from the rest (paper, plastic, metal, glass, etc).

Any plastic, glass, metal contaminated with organic waste must be cleaned before left outside for collection. Organic trash need to collected separately with dedicated trucks.

People in northern Europe can do this. Why not in Bali?


Tuesday 7th of November 2023

@Exp, why not Bali? Because the arrogance of "go home if you don't like it" and "it's our island".

Make sure they remember it when begging after foreigners stop coming to this garbage island.

Ungrateful, ignorant, uneducated, arrogant, dishonest, disrespectful, greedy - that's Bali.


Friday 3rd of November 2023


Too lazy, proud and too busy smoking and watching Tik tok.

Na Kolohe

Wednesday 1st of November 2023

If local villages don't make the effort to recycle then it's moot because you can lead a horse to water but . . . .


Wednesday 1st of November 2023

There is no strategic planning for waste as there is none for ural planning, traffic congestion etc. The future of Bali hindges on management of waste and treatment of water waste and proper infeastructure. Everything is handled at the last moment without any understanding of mid term to longer terms effects of what they do today- creating new landfills on rice paddie or dumping on beach in Kuta clearly shows " pannic mode".

They need to hire professionals overseas and they need to spend money on waste.

BALI is over populated, over built and under regulated.


Thursday 2nd of November 2023

@Specialmoments, Quote "There is no strategic planning for waste as there is none for ural planning".

Yep. Even the urban areas are managed like villages (kampungs). Roads follow (traditional) rice field demarcations and no consideration for where people are living and where they want to go.

Like Canggu and elsewhere all roads inland from beach (how the locals travel between home & work), no roads parallel to the beaches (as the tourists prefer).


Wednesday 1st of November 2023

Should we be remotely thankful that the rubbish/plastic thrown in the streets (mostly by locals, domestic Indo tourists) and into the drains, creeks, empty blocks and dumped illegally in natural areas and the plastic burning on roadsides and in small businesses is not calculated into the volume of rubbish thats mentioned in this article. This trash issue has been prevailing for decades and it goes in one ear and out the other of the Island governance, developers and the locals. Now it is at crisis point. The Island of the Gods is now the Island of Rampant Uncontrolled Over Development, Pollution and Trash. The profiteers from all this are taking the tourist dollar elsewhwere and they do not care about the degradation and ruining of this Island. They wont invest a rupiah on solving the crisis.


Wednesday 1st of November 2023

Recycle in the villages? Means they just burn it in situe.