It’s no secret that Bali is one of the most magical destinations in the world, with its rich and diverse nature, white sand beaches, volcanoes, mountains, and rice terraces. This island certainly doesn’t disappoint those in search of natural breathtaking landscapes, and those desiring to dive into a unique ancient culture such as the Balinese one.
Sadly, this sublime Indonesian island has suffered from a wide range of environmental issues, such as polluted rivers, and the devastation of forests and wildlife. This makes sense when we take into consideration that Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter in the world. One of the worst and most visible issues in Bali is ocean contamination. This avalanche of plastic waste has severely affected the island in past years, causing the announcement of a “garbage emergency” by the Indonesian government in 2017.
Often times, scuba divers and surfers dive deep into the ocean and instead of being met with colorful fishes and corals, are hit with plastic bottles, tetra packs, straws, plastic bags, etc. Once ideal sunset walks are easily interrupted by a trail of trash all along the sand. This problem not only damages Bali’s image as a pristine tourist haven but also impacts the health of the local population, the economic situation of Bali, as well as the survival of marine life on a world-wide scale.
Luckily, the local and expat community have started to take action against this major issue. Some of the most inspiring movements have been the ones lead by local teenagers Melati and Isabel. These young girls started an NGO called Bye Bye Plastic to educate the people of Bali, to say no to plastic.
Some Social Media Influencers have also pronounced themselves against plastic pollution. Influencer and travel blogger Jordan Simmons posted a shocking aerial photo of his girlfriend laying amidst piles of rubbish on Batu Balong Beach. The Instagram photo certainly generated discussion as many followers praised the awareness effort while others were upset and even suggested that the photo was altered to make it look more “dramatic”.
Fortunately, on December 24th, 2018, Bali woke up to some amazing news. Governor Wayan Koster announced the ban on single-use plastics including shopping bags, styrofoam, and straws. The policy carries a six-month grace period to take effect. Bali is aiming for a 70% reduction of marine plastics within a year.
When it comes to Living Food Lab, as a vegan business in Bali, we’ve taken a stand on this issue as well. Our mission goes beyond offering plant-based, and nourishing food but also to actively contribute to a healthier and more sustainable world. We proudly don’t use any plastic in our restaurants (not even for Go-Jek delivery service) while also selling a diverse line of sustainable products.
Recently, we also partnered up with Ocean Mimic, a no-plastic movement, and eco swimwear brand that organizes beach clean-ups every Sunday in Canggu. We meet in front of Finns Beach Club at 5 pm, collect trash for an hour and later celebrate with fresh coconut on the beach. All participants of these cleanups get 10% discount in our restaurant.
On Saturday, February 16th, 2019, our team participated in “Bali’s Biggest Clean-Up”. This was the third year that a collective of NGO’s and individuals all over Bali joined together to clean-up the entire island! Under One Island One Voice movement, thousands of people across 8 regions of Bali took part and collected trash.
The broad collection of beautiful and sustainable products that we sell at Living Food Lab are aligned with our ethical, environmental and social principles. Bags, metal bottles, upcycled glasses, glass containers, tiffin boxes, etc.
Our goal is to keep learning and evolving into a more sustainable business. At the moment we are visiting different organic suppliers as well as partnering with other businesses and movements that support the environmental cause. Our space is always open to hosting activities connected with social and environmental consciousness and awareness. And you? What is your next move to make this a better world?