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APP’s Young Innovators reach Top 6 at the SDGI Young Professionals Program

In a world grappling with pressing issues such as climate change and waste pollution, four innovators emerged from the heart of APP Sinar Mas’ PT Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper Tbk - Serang Mill (IK Serang). Dina Ferydsa Verdiana, Andre Aldrin, Sjamsul Rijal, and Agustinus Rheza had their unique expertise, but shared a common vision - to combat the ever-growing menace of waste and its detrimental impact on our environment.

Their journey began when they were selected to represent IK Serang at the prestigious SDG Innovation Accelerator for Young Professionals program. This was an opportunity to make a difference on a global scale. The selection process had been rigorous, but these four passionate individuals stood out.

"We heard about this program and the criteria they set was for people under 35, so we started with that," Dina explained. APP had identified them as potential change-makers along with four others from the Tjiwi Kimia Mill. Once the team was assembled, they began to identify a project that could shine at the SDG Innovation program.

"The 'Bank Sampah Digital' program fit very well – it was quite new and had a good social impact in terms of waste management," Andre chimed in. This program, spearheaded by Indah Kiat Serang mill, aimed to revolutionize waste management in the communities surrounding IK Serang's operational area. It was a practical solution to the ever-mounting challenge of waste. The "digital waste bank" was a waste collection system that would enable the mill to collect paper waste from local residents to be reused in the production process.

But their journey wasn’t without its hurdles. The team had to scrutinize their project through the lens of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to find its relevance. Their mentor, Arya Dwi Paramita from Pertamina Hulu Energy, played a pivotal role.

"He seemed familiar with it, and the topic of waste is a concern for his company as well," Rheza shared. Their mentor recognized the potential of the project in involving local communities and creating a bio-circular economy. Paper waste collected by the "Bank Sampah Digital" program was ingeniously processed and reused in the production of brown paper in the IK Serang mill. The program contributed to achieving SDGs 3 (Good Health and Well-Being) and SDGs 6 (Clean Water & Sanitation).

As the culmination of their efforts neared, the team found themselves standing before a panel of judges in the awarding ceremony. The judges were not just interested in their innovative project; they were concerned about its sustainability and impact on the community.

"And this is what makes it interesting," Sjamsul explained, "the program involves the mill's employee co-op. So the residents sell their trash to the employee co-op, and the co-op sells it to the company. Everyone benefits this way, and everyone is encouraged to keep the program running."

Their project was a win-win situation - an aid for the environment and a source of income for local communities. The judges were impressed, and their innovative approach propelled them into the top six among the nineteen teams that participated in the SDGI program.

"We wish that this program can be adopted by other Indah Kiat mills in Tangerang and Perawang," Dina said with hope. "It's not too difficult to implement this as long as there is a good system in place. This will be useful in mills that convert paper waste into brown paper."

The journey of these four individuals is a testament of what determination, innovation, and collaboration can achieve. With their 'Bank Sampah Digital' program, they have taken a significant step towards a cleaner, greener future. Their story is one of hope, resilience, and the power of youth to shape the world for the better.

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