PTFI and Community Partners Inaugurate Recycling Center Near Manyar Smelter Project Site
January 4, 2023 - PT Freeport Indonesia and its community partners recently inaugurated a recycling center near its Manyar smelter project that recovers construction materials from the project site in East Java, with proceeds benefitting local community nonprofits.
The Joint Transformation Center (PTB) was built in collaboration with contractor PT Raya Manyar Persaya and the Jami Manyar Mosque Takmir Foundation, a local community organization more commonly referred to as Yatamam – after a local village. Wehasta, a nongovernmental organization specializing in waste management, will work to increase the operating capability of PTB and verify alignment to environmental best practices.
Revenue from recycling at PTB will be invested in the Yatamam Community Benefit program, which includes financing the education of orphans.
"PTFI is proud to be part of this sustainability effort," said H-D Garz, Executive Vice President-Corporate Planning and Business Strategy at PTFI. “The existence of PTB will support the vision and mission of the Gresik community in responsible waste management through 3R (reuse, reduce and recycle) as well as take a role in the circular economy.”
Revenues help cover tuition
After PTB’s soft commissioning in late August, sales of leftover rebar from the construction of piles at the smelter site already had generated $241,600 to pay school tuition and expenses for the orphans as of early November, said Fajar Mulyana, Group Leader, Community Relations/Social Responsibility-PTFI.
With the local Gresik landfill nearing its capacity and creating long hauls for waste materials from the $3.2 billion Manyar smelter and refinery site, local stakeholders shared an interest in recycling waste to support community organizations, villages and local business owners, said Rio Kurniawan, Environmental Lead-Manyar Project Site.
The Manyar smelter waste reduction strategy includes treating processing waste at the recycling center and segregating construction waste directly at the smelter location.
Leftover rebar and other materials are sorted, cleaned and cut before being sold to local buyers. For the first phase, PTB prioritized managing the remaining steel piles, wood pallets and other packaging materials by involving village-owned enterprises and local waste banks. The center sells the waste to direct buyers such as iron smelters.
Kurniawan said the primary goals to help ensure the success of the center are to:
- reduce the waste sent to local landfills through a distribution program to recycle and upcycle material that can provide broadly shared community benefits
- build a partnership that aligns to environmental standards and can be sustained as a business model beyond the Manyar Smelter Project funding after its construction is complete
- ensure technical competence and acceptance by a variety of stakeholders with a vested interest in generating community benefits
"Sustainability efforts and community programs like this require multi-stakeholder support to run optimally. Therefore, PTFI plans to continue working with local governments, the NGO sector such as Yatamam, Wehasta and other local stakeholders," Garz said.
Yatamam Chairman Abdul Mu'id Zahid said his group already is working with similar groups in eight other villages and hopes the pilot project at Manyar will bring the community together.
"We hope other regions and industries will follow this example and open up what Freeport has done here in Manyar with this," Zahid said.
The operator of the center had 30 local employees as of early November, Mulyana said.
“One of our long-term goals is to develop this into a training facility where locals can develop and practice welding and carpentry skills using the recyclable materials to create upcycled products,” Mulyana said.
Photo: Representatives of PT Freeport Indonesia, the Yatamam foundation and local government pose with five orphan children holding school tuition vouchers that were paid for with proceeds from recycled rebar at the official inauguration of the PTB.