Support the Biggest Recycling Village in the World Support the Biggest Recycling Village in the World Bukit Lawang, Indonesia Project Wings
Project Wings is building the biggest Recycling Village in the world out of plastic garbage, so-called Ecobricks.

11 Project reviews of Project Wings

Project Details

Project Wings is building the biggest Recycling Village in the world made out of over 250 tonnes of plastic garbage, so-called Ecobricks.

"Find a way, not an excuse."
Project Wings is one of the fastest-growing NGOs in Germany and is currently building the world´s biggest recycling village from 250 tons of plastic waste in Indonesia. We are taking action against three of the world's biggest problems: species extinction, tropical deforestation and the continuing flood of plastic. 
Through our approach, we are creating a self-sustaining system, run by locals, which combines environmental protection, nature conservation and animal welfare. Together with our civil engineers and the University of Münster as well as the Koblenz University of Applied Sciences, a sustainable and tailor-made construction concept was developed for the recycling village.

Nature is being cleaned up and sustainable awareness is being created.People collect, clean and dry plastic waste and stuff it into plastic bottles with the help of a stick until they are stable. These so-called "Ecobricks" can be exchanged for 5,500 IDR = approx. 0,30€ = 1 hot meal each. These Ecobricks are installed in the walls protected from light and thus isolate the plastic waste from the environment. Plastic abrasion is prevented and the waste is put to good use.
With our deposit system, we have created a holistic concept that makes it possible to construct buildings from affordable materials in a very short time. 

Thanks to our supporters, we were able to employ three local refuse collections who daily collect garbage from surrounding villages. Thus, the garbage can be properly separated and finally recycled in our Trash Bank. Because in many parts of Indonesia, there is a lack of a functioning recycling system. Sadly, this is why garbage is either (without recycling systems) burned or thrown into nature or.

What other areas of responsibility are there?
We protect the rainforest with the help of the local groups Generation Co and Ernas Ecofarm. Generation Co does important education and persuasion work by informing plantation owners about the consequences and disadvantages of monocultures. Their goal is to encourage plantation owners to switch to permaculture or less harmful farming methods. Furthermore, they carry out reforestation on former plantations, thus reclaiming important habitats. At Erna's Ecofarm, cuttings and compost for reforestation are produced in a sustainable and traditional way.

We are involved in animal protection with the organization Care Sumatra. With our financial support, they were able to train a ranger patrol in 2019 to protect endangered animals such as the orangutan from poachers and the rainforest from illegal deforestation. Furthermore, we promote alternatives to plastic for local people and secure fair local jobs with the help of the recycling system. 
In order to make a lasting difference, it is particularly important to start with the youngest people of our society. Therefore, we focus on educational work in Germany as well as in Indonesia. Various contents concerning environmental protection, animal welfare and humanitarian aid are conveyed interactively in the context of project days/weeks and workshops. We cooperate with different educational institutions in Germany. The goal is to expand this program in the future and to reach as many young people as possible. 

At the same time, we are enabling the so-called Green Education Center in Indonesia, a voluntary green classroom, where classes from the surrounding area can visit free of charge. There, the children and young people learn how to deal responsibly with problems such as the current plastic pollution, as well as various recycling techniques.

What else is planned?
The next step is to build a sustainable marketplace, the world's most sustainable sports ground and an organic restaurant. Our goal is to promote sustainable, vegan and plastic-free products, as well as techniques and innovations. We also want to contribute to the increase of well-being and health in our village.
The recycling marketplace is an excellent place to sell sustainably produced and plastic-free products. Likewise, we would like to support people with disabilities in particular in the manufacturing process and give them the opportunity to develop and market products. Since there is no soccer field in the entire region and hardly any other sports fields, we would like to use the world's most sustainable sports field to especially promote the region's sports talents. In the future, we would also like to facilitate official tournaments with spectators.
By promoting permaculture agriculture, we have already been able to convince many farmers to abandon monoculture. To further develop this process, we would like to buy the farmers' products and process them in a sustainable organic restaurant and/or resell them on the market. In addition, the planned restaurant is also suitable for cooking classes and can provide a stage for musicians and artists.
For the construction of new buildings, as well as the operation of already planned buildings, we are continuously recruiting new cooperation partners, who support us in the implementation of the village. The recycling marketplace, the organic restaurant and the sustainable sports field are therefore designed for the realization of various events, such as tournaments, competitions, performances, cooking events as well as exhibitions. Also in the future we would like to further develop the village and are always looking for of new suitable cooperations cooperations! 

Project Wings also has various cooperation partners and supporters outside of educational institutions. These include larger companies such as LUSH, Nutri-Plus and natural cosmetics BEN&ANNA. 
As patrons and ambassadors for the public, we are supported by Culcha Candela (music band) and René Adler (former German national player), among many others.
The main focus of the project is on
NPO Status
Yes, registered non-profit organization
Foundation Year
Contact Person
Simon Schöfthaler
Spoken Languages

Social Impact

Through our Ecobrick deposit and recycling system, we enable an improvement in the living standards of local people by giving them a flexible way to generate cash. At the same time, a formerly "waste product" receives an equivalent value. The locals collect, clean, dry and stuff plastic waste into bottles until they reach a weight of half a kilo. They can exchange the Ecobricks for money. Through our Ecobrick deposit and recycling system, we have already been able to financially support hundreds of families and provide local people with a source of income. 

To date, we have purchased over 100,000 Ecobricks and recycled around 50,000 kg of plastic waste as a result. Five Ecobrick buildings are already standing and two more are currently being completed.

In addition, over 35,000 trees have already been planted.

Through the trash bank and the establishment of an on-site waste system, we are managing to prevent much of the waste generated from being illegally buried or incinerated. We provide a way for people to collect organic and residual waste. Locals even receive money per kilogram for separated plastic waste. We also set up trash cans and conduct large clean ups every Monday to remove trash from the environment. In this way, we protect nature and at the same time contribute to the preservation of human and animal health. The Clean Ups are carried out by the team, cooperation partners and local people.

Especially in times of the Corona pandemic, many people lost their source of income due to the lack of tourism, so that the demand for the Ecobrick deposit system has increased significantly. Here, too, we implemented immediate measures. We created more jobs, increased and expanded the acceptance of Ecobricks so that even small Ecobricks or empty plastic bottles could be exchanged for money, and also integrated artists from the region into the project.

With our cooperation partners, we promoted sustainable agriculture and reforestation and created various gardens and sustainable cultivation areas. The fruits and vegetables from our gardens will later be used for the restaurant on the recycling village site. Since this is still in the planning stage, our Indonesian team members distribute the food free of charge to local people to support them. Another part of the harvest is used to feed the team during physical activities, such as reforestation campaigns. 

Through the free accessible buildings - such as the Green Education Center and the coworking office - we are making a vital contribution to access to education, training and development in Sumatra. At the Green Education Center, school classes from the region have the opportunity to use the building for free, as well as join our Green Class English and environmental classes. In the coworking office, we aim to provide locals with enough space to develop their sustainable startup ideas, as well as good equipment and startup stipends. The goal: to promote the local economy, adequate training and alternatives to activities in tourism.

The coordination and management of the recycling village in Sumatra is in the hands of the local people. In Sumatra we currently have over 50 employees; both female and male. We make a point of putting women in management positions as well and do not differentiate in wages according to socio-demographic factors, but only according to the type of work. Our employees have fixed working hours and the right to vacation days. Local holidays are also taken into account.

To protect the animals, we have financed the training and equipment of a ranger patrol. In the meantime, a second ranger patrol has joined the team. 

International cooperation and exchange: Our project is anchored in Indonesia as well as in Germany. Together we connect different cultures and are always active at eye level.

Pursued Sustainable Development Goals

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