Business Models,cityscapes

2 Radical New Ways to Get Paid for Positive Environmental Action

8 Mar , 2014  

Health insurance that uses garbage as financing tool

There is a clear and dramatic link to health and sanitation in Indonesia and if you have not heard, Dr. Gamal Albinsaid, a young award-winning Indonesian doctor, created a micro-insurance program to help the poorest people in Indonesia gain access to health care and education through sanitation.

He started the program called Garbage Clinical Insurance (GCI) within Indonesia Medika, a social enterprise he runs after learning that three children had died of diarrhea because of their parents' inability to pay for a doctor.

How it works


GCI model

Members of the clinic get medical insurance in exchange for collecting and recycling trash. Every day, they bring their trash to a collection point near the clinic where workers process it into compost or commodities (such as bales of paper, bottles and cans) and sold. The funds from the processed trash, which have reached about 10.000 IDR per month, are pooled and used to cover patient's treatments, health care quality improvement programs, preventive care, and free treatment such as in-clinic counseling.


  • Mission: allow people to actively participate in managing their waste while improving their sanitation
  • Program has expanded to clinics in 5 areas of Indonesia
  • More than 500 families have gained access to medical services and 2,000 membership cards have been distributed
  • 88 volunteers, 15 doctors and 12 nurses, paid through the fund from the community’s waste
  • AusAID Indonesian Social Innovator Award, Price of Wales Sustainable Enterprise Award

Recycling plastic bottles (and other stuff) for food

In 2011, Mexico City's landfill reached full capacity and closed down. The city was not ready for the overflow of trash and putrescible material that was left on the city streets. Two years later the Environment Secretariat (SEDEMA) collects glass and PET plastic bottles, cardboard, paper, aseptic  containers, and discarded electronics every second Sunday at the Barter Market.

How it works


Barter market model

Recyclables are sorted and weighed by SEDEMA staff members on 10 tables. A receipt is printed with equal "green points," which can be traded for food vouchers. The vouchers can be used at several stands within the market, with locally grown products that include fruits, vegetables, medicinal and ornamental plants. The recyclables are collected into trucks run by recycling companies, and pay SEDEMA. SEDEMA pays the farmers at the market for the vouchers they’ve collected.


  • PET bottles: 30 green points/kilo
  • paper and cardboard containers: 13 green points/kilo
  • aluminum cans: 16 green points/kilo
  • aseptic packaging: 15 green points/kilo
  • glass: 3 green points/kilo
  • voucher denominations: one, 5, 10, and 20 points
  • SEDEMA receives about $3,000 per barter day
  • Farmers receive about $8,000 each barter day


  • On average 2,500 visitors each barter Sunday
  • Market collects about 14 metric tons of recyclables each time
  • The program's first year produced 198 metric tons of recyclables and 24,352 visitor

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2 Responses

  1. […] cooperative business model is different from the ones employed by Recnowa, the Garbage Clinical Insurance and the WOW Farm but is also focused on creating a positive social impact, job creation and reducing […]

  2. […] already covered the innovations in Indonesia, Mexico and Ghana. But there are also many projects underway to prevent waste, like The Street Store, […]

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