Welcome to the Evolving Man Project’s “Evolved Man of the Week” profile. Each week we will highlight an individual that embodies what it means to be an evolved person, famous and non-famous individual alike. The world needs to know their stories and deeds. This week’s honor goes to the vegan restaurant owner, Bali native, and founder of the non-profit, Plastic Exchange, Made Janur Yasa.
He started a program where local villagers could exchange plastic for rice. This barter system would benefit the environment and empower the local people. Residents can turn in plastic trash they collected in exchange for the main food staple.
In May 2020, he hosted the first exchange in the village where he was born and raised. It was a success, and the concept quickly spread to other villages across Bali. His non-profit, Plastic exchange, was created.
Bali Tribune reports that in a single two-hour period in August of this year, a Plastic Exchange in the village of Saba collected turned in two tons of plastic. Yasa’s project was beginning to change the attitudes of islanders.
Yasa works with a small company that will send all the plastic he collects to the much larger island of Java, where it can be recycled, as no such infrastructure exists in Bali. The sale of that raw material allows buying rice from growers in Bali, supporting the local economy.
Here is Yasa in his own words in changing hearts and minds:
“People in Bali live in nature,” … “Traditionally, we believe nature has a soul. People do care about the environment. But the plastic pollution in Bali is because of lack of education and practice.”
Today we honor Made Janur Yasa as our Evolved Man of the Week.