Keep this story going! Share below!
The oil or chemical drums made from steel were usually left wasted at the yard which gave problems to the environment in terms of their huge volume, rusty, unpleasant view and became a place for mosquitoes to lay their eggs. Two young man from Cirebon had an idea to turn wasted drums into furniture such as sofa, table, shelf, sink, and others. These made-of-steel furniture not just long lasting and durable through times but also reducing waste from the environment and recycle it into a highly-creative furniture.
The idea popped up when two friends, Febrianto Sompie and Muhammad Naufal Simanjuntak, found two used drums left alone in front of one house. “We try to make use of those drums for reducing waste from the environment while in the same time making money out of it,” said Febrianto Sompie. ”As everyone already aware, used drums usually correlated with mosquito’s nest that produce dengue fever so it was not a healthy environment. The optimalization of used-drum itself usually is just for trash can, plants pot or a water tank for building house process which never gives high value to the drum. Then we thought why don’t we make a chair or a shelf from it?” he added. “The idea was very simple, how to make the environment cleaned from drum waste especially because it related to the place where mosquito breed,” said Febri.
Rather than just turn the steel drum to scrap metal, Febri and Naufal creating value by recycling it into various high quality furnitures. Furnitures like sofas, shelves, sinks, stools, chairs, tables, grills and even dog houses already produced by Galleri Umah Tong. They are making the product carefully and uniquely so that the product has a good value propositions and, of course, good price.
“The competitive advantage of the product lies on its strength, longevity and durability since the furniture made from thick steel drum which has heavy weight and won’t easily ruined neither by climate nor by destructive act of human. The product can also easily be repaired and repainted if the owner got bored,” Naufal explained about their value proposition.
As to the design, they gather information from the market about what trends are happening recently. They also seek furniture design through internet and try to transform it through drums. The development of the product not just by the design but also by combining new materials with the drum waste as the main material. They believe that by using more wasted drums mean that they can deliver a business that eco-friendly and increasing a healthy environment by reducing mosquito nest.
Wastes that are usually underestimated in values and being accused as the source of disease and unpleasant views, can give both profit, social and environment benefits, if we can find a creative way to make use of them carefully.
Galeri Umah Tong proved that reduce, reuse, and recycle activities can deliver revenue as well as saving the planets by reducing wastes through efforts and creativity to produce recycled products. Even though the materials came from trash like used-drum, if the value creation process managed carefully and set at high quality standarts, the products will provide more money to the business as well as healthier environment in return.
As for public awareness, the business was already covered by the media such as Tabloid Kontan, Rakyat Cirebon, Bisnis Indonesia, Fajar News, and a show at TransTV named Laptop Si Unyil in the episode “Furniture dari Tong Minyak”.
Galeri Umah Tong shows that a business can gives not just profits but also reduce, reuse, and recycle wastes to give a healthier impact to the environment.
“Some portions of the revenues, we always donated to students in local pesantren,” said Naufal. “From the business we can also employ local people and make used of youngsters,” he added.
In summary, the business can gives both profits and environment-friendly acts at the same time. With the growing number of orders and turnovers, the society can get benefit through empowerment and the students of pesantren get the donations.
The business profitability reached stability after a couple of years running but the ultimate benefit goes into the environment by reducing drum wastes and empowering local society by reducing unemployment.
The oil drums made from steel are usually left wasted outside at the yard. These typical waste are giving problems to the environment because they are so big, get rusty, stacked at a junk yard, and becoming a place for mosquitoes to breed especially when rainy season comes. Indonesia as one of the tropical country is suffering from many cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus brought by aedes aegypti type of mosquito. Through their business process, those drum wastes, the sources of disease, has been made as Galeri Umah Tong’s main materials and transformed them into wonderful furnitures with highly creative process.
“Never in our concern. We never hesitate to share the making process and our experiences in the business for the sake of reducing drum wastes. The more people produce this kind of product the more environment gets benefits from them. This is for a better planet,” said Febri when asked about his concern on people tries to imitate their product.
As for the local society Naufal explained his mission, “Cirebon has many unemployment. In our neighborhood, many young people do not go on to a higher level of education after graduated from high school and live unemployed. Sometimes they create problems in society by becoming criminals. We try to employ them and teach them how to run the business so that they won’t do the unlawful act in order to earn some money.” He added, “We always ask people to pray the growth of our business so that we can employ more people and in the end the society will get more benefits from the business.”
Get stories of positive business innovations from around the world delivered right to your inbox.
Febrianto Sompie and Muhammad Naufal Simanjuntak, Founders