Jakarta: Green travel tips & green travel flops
Summer is the season for traveling, and the stakes are even higher when not traveling means staying back in sticky, typhoon’y Hong Kong. WOMB recently did a short getaway trip to Jakarta, and here, we wanted to bring a healthy dose of self-judgement as travellers, as well as provide you with green tips for your next visit to Indonesia’s capital.
Traveling (WOMB’s green score: 2/5)
Taking the plane between Hong Kong and Jakarta twice in four days, leaves a heavy carbon footprint on this trip. Also traveling in Jakarta is quite challenging, and because of the city’s crazy traffic, we used Go-Jek (Indonesian scooter-ubers). Not once have we used public transportation, but we were definitely more mindful than locals, who Go-Jek everywhere. Distances up to 2 km we’d always walk, so we give ourselves some green points there!
Eating (WOMB’s green score: 4/5)
Vegan food everywhere. It is extremely easy to eat vegan in Jakarta, (here you can see a previously published post about the environmental importance of vegan diet), so there is absolutely no reason not to do so. Do try the Gado-Gado or all the different vegan toppings for your nasi (rice-meal)!
One thing you have to be mindful of is the take-away packaging; always indicate you want to stay and eat and they will give you a reusable plate. Otherwise everything comes in plastic or this weird, glossy paper wrap (yup, we learned the hard way…. and hence the minus in our green-score!)
Going to Jakarta, we forgot our reusable straw. Luckily beautiful bamboo straws are available at BurGreens - an amazing vegan restaurant with several locations in Jakarta. We went there to buy the straw, but coincidentally ended up chatting to one of the co-founders, Max and guys from Jakarta Vegan Guide who happened to be around that day! Oh, did we mention that their staff are walking angels and the personification of kindness?
Shopping (WOMB’s green score: 4/5)
Jakarta is the city of malls. Malls that are not only shopping arcades, but also hangout spots, places for entertainment and the city culture, really. We did not go to any of the malls, however we did shop in more alternative locations. We got a beautiful sarong from Biasa, hand-colored using block-printing techniques and vegetable dyes, we also came across brands like Imaji Studio (sustainably dyed clothes), Moon Pancake (jewellery made of up-cycled industrial waste) and Sukkha Citta (beautiful marriage between sustainable fashion and social enterprise).
Verdict! Plenty of opportunities to bring sustainable souvenirs for your loved ones at home or to add a beautiful, consciously produced gadget to your own wardrobe.
Waste (WOMB’s green score: 3/5)
When in Jakarta, we focused on generating as little waste as possible, and it is easier that one would think. It really boils down to being mindful and always trying to ask for alternatives to single-use. Often the zero-waste options are available upon request. Also, there are recycling bins in Jakarta! That, however, is a slightly unverified source, since we haven’t looked more into the city’s waste management system, and we don’t actually know whether the litter from the recycling bins actually gets properly segregated and sorted at the final facilities.
Side story: During the festival WE THE FEST all the attendees were asked to put their stuff into transparent plastic bags for the security check. We shivered by the sight of a dreadful amount of plastic bags being distributed, but it turned out that there were people collecting them into special recycling bins. But one could still argue whether producing these bags really was necessary in the first place … I guess the security guys could have looked through people’s bags, no?
Jakarta might not be the greenest destination in South East Asia. Especially when Bali is blooming with sustainability-focused events, vegan festivals and zero-waste initiatives, it sometimes seems like Jakarta is being forgotten and excused by the fact that it’s a big city, a capital, and sustainability simply isn’t one of the main issues on the general agenda. But let’s not forget we all can make even a slight positive impact when we travel.
With WOMB’s overall score of 13/20 we know we can do much better next time! And we promise, we will!
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