Saving money doesn’t need to involve cash. This is the principle that Farida Masrurin (35), a resident of Jegu Village, Sutojayan District, Blitar Regency, East Java, attempts to instill in her community.
This lady, who spends her days as a Family Hope Program (PKH) assistant in Sutojayan District, has managed to convince many people in the area that saving can actually be done using garbage.
This mother of one child is currently the coordinator of Bank Sampah Hidup Maju (Life Progress Garbage Bank) which she initiated at the beginning of 2014. Since then, she has offered members of the community the opportunity to save with garbage.
“We want to teach that even things of seemingly little value can be turned into cash. Usually garbage is just discarded, isn’t it,” she said when met at the location of Bank Sampah Hidup Maju in Jegu Village, Sutojayan District, Blitar Regency on Friday evening (5/5/2017).
First, the inorganic waste brought to the garbage bank by residents is weighed. Next, the weighed garbage is given a value in rupiah in accordance with the pre-determined price of the garbage. After that, the money from the sale is placed into a savings account.
"The proceeds from the sale of garbage are immediately saved,” she explained.
It's not easy for Farida to persuade people to save using garbage as no real culture of saving exists in the community. Furthermore, the value of the savings is quite small.
“It's hard to make people here realize that saving can start from just a little money," Farida pointed out.
Nonetheless, the efforts of this woman, who was born on February 20, 1982, are slowly starting to bear fruit, as she encourages a growing number of residents to deposit their garbage. In fact, at present, there are already 1,450 residents who regularly save with garbage.
The people saving using garbage come from 11 villages in the region. These villages are Bajem, Sukorejo, Sumberejo, Jenglong, Jegu, Kaulon, Kembang Arum, Kalipang, Kedong Bunder, Sutojayan and Pandan Arum.
The bank is open for garbage deposits only once a week, every Saturday. The sums generally saved made by the villages’ inhabitants are not great in value. Some only save between Rp 1.000 and Rp 3.000, while others manage to reach Rp 35.000.
Usually, the savings generated by depositing garbage are withdrawn once a year – around the holiday of Idul Fitri at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan.
"Normally, the savings are accessed only once a year, just before Lebaran," Farida said.
She went on to describe how not all of the area’s garbage is sold and put into savings. Some of it is made into handicrafts by ladies working in the Family Hope Program (PKH). These handicrafts include plates made from beverage glasses, mineral water containers, tissue holders and bags.
The area’s residents started to become more convinced about saving through garbage after Farida became a Laku Pandai (Branchless Banking) agent for BTPN. She elaborated on the some of the benefits of BTPN Wow! - a Laku Pandai product of PT Bank Tabungan Pensiunan Nasional (BTPN) Tbk.
“Thanks to BTPN Wow! the people here began to trust this scheme because they could see their savings more easily. With a banking book, you can only see your savings once a month, whereas with BTPN Wow! you can see them at any time. What’s more, there are no administrative fees," she enthused.
She explained that she has been a bank agent since 2016. Since then, virtually all the residents who routinely save using garbage have become her customers.
According to Farida, BTPN Wow! has made the garbage saving scheme, which originally used a manual recording system, much more practical. Whereas before it was done in a conventional manner, now it uses a digital system.
Meanwhile, Executive Vice President Product Development and Customer Experience Head at BTPN, Achmad Nusjirwan Sugondo, declared that BTPN Wow! is a Laku Pandai product that targets people who do not yet have access to a bank account.
In Farida’s view, everybody has the chance to become a Laku Pandai agent as long as they meet the specified requirements. These include having owned a permanent business for more than two years, taking part in training, obtaining certification and not being put on Bank Indonesia’s blacklist.
“And you need to deposit your working capital in a bank,” she added.
(KOMPAS.com / Andi Hartik)