News, Sustainability, Environment

Optimizing Face Mask Waste from the Pandemic as a New Fuel Alternative

Jakarta, 18 October 2022 – Kimberly-Clark Softex announces another strategic partnership with a community-based management service, Bank Sampah Bersinar (BSB), on face mask waste management. Kimberly-Clark Softex and BSB have recycled 979 kgs of face mask waste into crude oil within eight months. This collaboration aims to realize the company’s commitment to producing the smallest environmental footprint while unlocking additional financial opportunities for the local community.


“As one of the leaders in personal care producers in Indonesia, we strive to constantly deliver high-quality products to improve human lives while leaving the smallest environmental footprint possible. We aim to bring strong impact to the society and sustainability. This program is one of our efforts to realize our commitment as a face mask producer through the brand Softies to create a better planet by recycling our product waste,” said Kadir Gunduz, President Director of Kimberly-Clark Softex.


A research study from Bandung Institute of Technology in 2021 showed the estimated amount of household face mask waste in Bandung reached 3.89 tons per day or 1,421.44 tons per year.[1] While face masks serve a critical purpose in preventing the spread of Covid-19 and other illnesses, the increase in non-degradable waste raise global concerns about its impacts on land and ocean ecosystems. Thus, a holistic face mask waste management system through product recycling is needed. Suppose Bandung was to recycle 100% of its users’ face masks. In that case, this waste could be converted into over 970 kg of crude oil per day – over 354 tons/year – enough to substitute 0.220% of Bandung’s total fuel oil consumption as a metropolitan city. A research study from Semarang University showed that metropolitan cities’ average fuel oil demand reached 455,382-kilo liters/year.[2]


Kimberly-Clark Softex-Bank Sampah Bersinar collaboration is addressing this issue by implementing an effective face mask waste management system to control its environmental impact. Bank Sampah Bersinar manages face mask waste collection, segregation, and recycling processes in their facility in the Bandung area. Within eight months, Kimberly-Clark Softex recycled 979 kg of face mask waste in the area. Every 4 kg of face mask waste can be recycled into 0.5 kg of crude oil, which can be processed into green gasoline and green diesel. Besides waste recycling management, the program also provides education on waste segregation and unlocks additional financial opportunities by empowering the local communities to involve in the program directly.


“At its core, Bank Sampah Bersinar is an education, innovation, and community-based waste management solution. We are pleased to partner with Kimberly-Clark Softex to develop a holistic face mask waste management system. We hope this collaboration can be continued and expanded to reduce waste pollution and bring further impacts to community,” said Febriyanti, representative from Bank Sampah Bersinar.


Another waste management initiative was also done in the past. Kimberly-Clark Softex also worked on disposable diaper waste management. The company has recycled more than 150 metric tons of used diapers into Refused Plastic Fuel (RPF), fertilizers, pok-bricks, crude oil, recycled paper, and other handicrafts. All these actions align with Kimberly-Clark Softex's commitment to realizing the three SDG Goals, namely #12: Responsible Consumption and Production, #14: Life Underwater, and #17: Partnership for Purpose, to address the social and environmental challenges to achieving sustainable development for all.


[1] Prediksi Timbulan dan Usualan Konsep Pengelolaan Limbah Masker Rumah Tangga di Kota Bandung (Institut Teknologi Bandung, July 2021)

[2] Analisis Gradien Kepadatan Penduduk dan Konsumsi BBM (Universitas Semarang, July 2009)