Ecobricks are simple, collaboration powered technology that enable companies like Ubud Raw to manage their plastic, connect with their staff and community and inspire deep plastic transition.
Ubud Raw is a small company in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia that is reknown for its astoundingly rich raw organic chocolate. After joining the Global Ecobrick Alliance (GEA) Catalyst Program in 2018, the company has turned the same mind-fullness that created its revolutionary chocolate, to its company plastic transition. Through yearly ecobrick trainings, Ubud Raw strives to bring all its staff, from managers to chefs, from drivers to the president, on the same level of plastic consciousness. This ensures that the whole team is deeply in sync with the company’s green goals.
Each week, Ubud Raw’s employees pack the plastic that they couldn’t avoid. Each month uses their Catalyst account to log their monthly plastic generation to make sure they are on track with their green goals. And each year, the company undertakes an ecobrick building project! In 2019, they used their ecobricks to make modular tables and chairs for their staff’s sitting area. In 2020, they used over 200 ecobricks to build an earthen wall for their new factory washroom. So far, the Ubud Raw team has kept almost 100Kg of plastic out of the Bali biosphere.
Ask anyone in the food business– its almost impossible to avoid using plastic! Everything comes wrapped and secured in plastic.
According to Rolf Gibbs, founder and president of Ubud Raw “We’ve worked with all our suppliers and are continuously looking for every opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic we use, but we’ve still got plastic to deal with.”
This is where Ecobricking and the Catalyst Program come in. Using their GoBrik Catalyst account, the company is able to track their commitment transition from plastic and goal of being a fully regenerative business. The plastic that goes out (i.e. their product packaging) they track and tally up. The plastic that comes in (i.e. the packaging of the raw supplies they need to make chocolate), they ecobrick.
Olivia, the company manager, calculates that each month the company consumes an average of 17kg of plastic (i.e. styrofoam from butter shipments, plastic for cacao shipment bags, wrappers, etc.). Olivia also estimates that each month the company produces 5kg of plastic in the products that it sells and ships (the packaging for their raw cacao product, etc.). On average, 5-10Kg of the plastic that comes in, they ecobrick.
After completing an ecobrick, the staff logs it on the GoBrik app. Through the app, the total plastic packed and all the ecobricks made by Ubud Raw is tracked. Over the course of the year, the company is able to track their ecobricking vs their plastic generation. The ratio of ecobricking to net plastic generated is what we call their Plastic Transition Ration (PTR). The PTR is displayed as a percentage of zero waste. For the year of 2019, Ubud Raw acheived a PTR of 13.5% This is an amazing number, consider the waste majority of companies have no PTR at all!
But this is just the beginning! Rolf aims to not only pack all of its produced and consumed plastic, but to inspire even more packing in the community. Eventually, Ubud Raw will find itself in a position that almost no other company can claim: they are sequestering more plastic than they produce! This means a PTR above 100%.
During the Covid-19 period Ubud Raw is making a big push to get on top of its plastic. See Ubud Raw’s PTR graph above: In April 2020, its staff pushed their monthly PTR to 64%. In May, at the time of writing, they are on track for an incredible 143%!
What to do with all the ecobrick packed by the company? In 2019, the company made half a dozen modules with their ecobricks. In March, 2020, after saving up 200 ecobricks, the company put them to use in a day of collaborative earth building. Led by GEA earth builders, the staff took the day off to build the final wall for their factories new bathroom. The wall used earth and ecobrick building techniques to ensure that the ecobricks are effectively sequestered, yet use-able in a decade or two when the factory comes to its end and the wall destroyed.
As required for hygenic reasons, some of its products it packs in plastic materials. These packages are all labelled with the ecobrickable designator symbol as a conscious and responsible step towards circular packaging design.
Ubud Raw continues to pack and track its plastic and save up for its next big earth and ecobrick building project.
As the staff return home and share ecobricking with their families and communities, even more plastic will get packed and diverted from the rivers and beaches of Bali. It is important to note, that this additional plastic is being packed as a direct consequence of Ubud Raw’s investment in the focusing and staff training towards plastic transition. Through our special Catalyst Program software, ecobricks that inspired by Ubud Raw and logged on GoBrik, are directly credited to the company.
A bold new key performance indicator that lets you track your Plastic Transition-- the PTR shows one's transition from waste to zero-waste to ayyew!
“Chocolate is often seen as a guilty pleasure, both from a health standpoint, and also because of the miserable conditions of the workers at many third world cacao farms. Conversely, Ubud Raw chocolate is actually a healthy superfood, and our cacao is grown locally and organically by Balinese farmers who own their own land and set their own prices. And now, with our new collaboration with Ecobricks, we are also finally able to say that as a business, we will be taking more plastic out of the the biosphere than we are putting in. We want our customers to know that eating our excellent chocolate is a pleasure to enjoy without guilt. Proving that PURE pleasure is possible, without compromise.”
– Rolf Gibbs