Rapel.id : Digital Recycling Service Turning Trash Into Cash

Rapel ID
Turn your waste into cash with Rapel.id app
Waste is not a blessing, it is a problem that needs solving. That was what Berthy Jacob, co-founder of Rapel.id, shared with us in our interview. Berthy Jacob and Anang Widarso, coming from engineering fields, are co-founders of Rapel.id which concentrates in waste sorting, selling, and management.
In 2018, they started a feasibility study in Yogyakarta to get a painstaking reflection on whether Repel would appeal to people who reside in Yogyakarta. The response was as they expected, if not better. Reaching out for Yogyakarta’s residents came in handy as most residents had already sorted their household waste. Residents of Yogyakarta eventually grew a feeling of defeat due to inconsistency in the system. The need for waste management that looks into handling wastes from upstream to downstream was far needed. Their sorted-out waste is finally open-dumped in landfills with other wastes. 



Berthy Jacob and Anang Widarso came with the initiative of Rapel after they got the government’s project deal to design sanitary landfills. The estimated lifespan of landfills was ranging from 15 to 20 years. However, with an open-dumping system, the landfills were already at its fullest capacity within five years. Hundreds of million rupiahs were allocated but the predicted estimate was not even close. The idea also came within their office as piles of idle files are put as is, albeit no longer being used. They started to ask office boys to call waste collectors to come to their office to help. The solution for both the problems in the landfills and their office immediately came at the moment. 
The vision of Rapel (abbreviated form of Rakyat Peduli Lingkungan; English : People Care about Environment) is to sort out waste so that only wastes that have already reached end-of-life and can no longer be processed with 3Rs end up in landfills. Rapel understands that not littering is not enough to manage waste as written in their philosophy, “Karena buang sampah pada tempatnya saja tidak cukup.” This philosophy then grew as their methods in handling waste problems. Realizing the root of the problem surrounding waste management came from waste producers, hence to handle it they need to start from there. 

Karena bang sampah pada tempatnya saja tidak cukup


Rapel believes that waste is a problem, but it can have value after it is sorted out. Rapel has sorting facilities and partners who will buy the waste from Rapel and recycle that waste into raw materials (i.e. plastics, papers, tin, used cooking oils, etc.) Rapel also partners with garbage collectors who help collect and sort waste from households and industries such as F&B, restaurants, cafes, and hotels. Rapel also partnered with public health centres and hospitals to pick up inorganic wastes (excluding medical wastes). Recently, there are over 100 hotels and cafes partners all over Yogyakarta and Semarang.  
In average waste posting by customers as much as 15 kg of waste per posting, customers get IDR1,200/kg in Rapel balance so users can easily get IDR 20,000 from 15 kg – 20 kg of waste. As Rapel also partnered with Gojek, this Rapel balance can be redeemed into Gopay balance. Rapel tries to update their price for waste once every two weeks. 
rapel.id waste collector
Rapel.id waste collector plays critical role in educating people about waste management (image: rapel app / Facebook)
Every time customers make a posting, waste collectors come to customers’ place, collect sorted waste, and buy the waste from users. This collected waste was then being sold to Rapel via rapel warriors or waste collectors; who already became Rapel’s partner. User and waste collectors will get points from these waste trading activities, and the points can be exchanged with various prizes according to promos.  
Rapel’s policy asserts that for every user’s post, Rapel ensures the waste has to be picked up by waste collector partners within a 24-hour window. This is their way to appreciate and give the most appropriate service to users who already made the efforts to sort wastes.
Waste collectors are seen as spearheads of Rapel, that is why Rapel tries to break the stereotype of waste collectors by giving them attributes (i.e. uniform, app, etc). As an effect, waste collectors who were not allowed in cluster housings are now seen better by residents.
To date, Rapel has handled 40 tonnes of inorganic wastes from plastic (makes up 20%), paper (60%), metal, glass, cardboard, and many more per month. Rapel is now operating in cities around Central Java (Solo, Semarang, Klaten, Banyumas) and Yogyakarta. 
For the time being, Rapel only collects inorganic wastes and aims to manage organic waste as well in the future. By managing it into a source of energy such as derivative fuels (RDF), compost, and electric energy sources in the next ten years. Their future plan also includes the effort to utiliSe black soldier fly (BSF) as organic waste management. Rapel also sees the field of e-waste and B3 waste management in the future.
Berthy, co-founder of Rapel, believes that sustainability is about active growth. It doesn’t stop at the checkpoint and is not stagnant. If now we are meddling with sorting out wastes into organic and inorganic, we can move further to sort inorganic wastes based on its types or colors. To keep on learning and educating our closest ones is also how we keep track of a sustainable lifestyle. Rapel’s closing remark is trying to endorse on hand experience of sorting waste because no matter how small our effort is, there is nothing that ends in vain for the environment.
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