AMA #27: Recycling on an Island with Siân Williams from Gili Eco Trust

Preserving the delicate and biodiverse ecosystem on a tropical island in Indonesia is no easy task. For AMA #27, we’ll be talking to someone who tries to do just that!

Join us Wednesday, February 9th at 8:00am UTC on Instagram Live for a conversation with Siân Williams, Marketing Communications Manager at Gili Eco Trust. For AMA #27, we’ll be discussing the topic of recycling, and Gili Eco Trust’s waste stream work on the island. Previously working in Gili Trawangan as a scuba instructor, Siân is involved in many of Gili Eco Trust’s marine conservation programs–from weekly beach clean-ups to synthetic coral reef restoration.

Gili Eco Trust was founded in 2002 and does a wide array of work on the island to promote sustainability. The NGO is involved in programs, ranging from animal welfare, recycling initiatives, and eco-tourism to community education.

Though quite small, the island gets plenty of visitors in search of beautiful scenery and a great party. Around 15 million tourists visit the island each year, pre-Covid. This, plus limited infrastructure and a lack of capacity to handle trash, leads to a complicated waste stream management situation.

So, Gili Eco Trust has set out to make the island zero-landfill-waste! Bank Sampah Gili Indah, the first recycling center on the island, was established by Gili Eco Trust to divert waste from the landfill. All recyclable materials on the island end up there. Volunteers, sometimes tourists, come three times a week to help sort the rubbish. At the center, plastic waste (like single-use water bottles) is compressed into big cubes. A barge picks up approximately 15 tons of recycling every two weeks and carries it off the island, to a larger facility that can recycle it.

Gili Trawangan is known as Indonesia’s number one party island–meaning there is plenty of glass bottle waste. One of Gili Eco Trust’s programs upcycles glass bottles and other trash into unique crafts, such as candles, jewelry, ashtrays, and drinking glasses. When it can’t be turned into a beautiful gift, recycled glass waste is also crushed into sand to make construction bricks that are known to be stronger than regular bricks! This is just one of Gili Eco Trust’s many programs that support waste diversion from the island’s landfill.

Siân is passionate about educating members of the local community, including tourists and local businesses, on how they can contribute to creating a more sustainable future for the island. Living on a small island in Indonesia, promoting ecotourism, working in marine conservation, and striving to improve waste management processes seems like one of the coolest jobs in the world (at least to us). Join @sea_token on Instagram Wednesday, February 9th at 8:00am to ask Siân anything you’d like to know.

If you have questions for Siân about her life in Gili, working in sustainability, or on the topic of recycling, send them to @sea_token on Twitter for a chance to win $20 worth of $SEA.



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