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Canggu: Surfer-Cum-Yogi Haven

Discovering the still-quiet area of Canggu to reboot and revitalize body and soul through yoga, healthy eating and total relaxation.

“There used to be beautiful rice paddies just down this road,” said an Australian tourist to her friend as they strolled past me.

I was walking down Jl. Padang Linjong in Canggu and she wasn’t kidding.

This area just north of Seminyak on the west coast of Bali has turned from mere paddy fields just a few years ago into a bustling beachside ‘village’ where the hip tourist escapes from the Bintang-singlet-donning holiday-makers who have started to spread their wings from the overcrowded Kuta to Seminyak, just 10 kilometres south of Canggu.

Visit this area soon before all the beautiful rice paddies disappear and it becomes another Seminyak.

Padi fields in CangguIt took me some time to put my finger on Canggu, but after a bout of 10 nights in the area, I can best describe it as surfer-meets-yogi territory – thus a mix of Seminyak and Ubud – with the laidback feeling that Sanur offers. Big swells mean these waters are for experienced surfers, although many learn-to-surf schools exist. There are yoga studios and retreats a-plenty, plus vegetarian, vegan and organic eateries, making this the perfect health retreat in Bali.

To navigate the area, rent yourself a motorbike or bicycle and think of Canggu as several small roads off of Jl. Bypass Tanah Lot and Jl. Raya Canggu, which each find their way to the sea. The main little roads are Jl. Pantai Batu Bolong (which ends at Batu Bolong beach), Jl. Raya Semat, Jl. Raya Pantai Berawa and Jl. Pantai Berawa, and Jl. Padang Linjong (which ends at Echo Beach).

The most happening of all the beaches that Canggu has to offer are Batu Bolong and Echo Beach, which sit less than a kilometre away from each other. The rocky ridges and dark volcanic sand of this area may not be as enticing as pristine-white sandy beaches, but don’t let the black stop you from coming back; the vibe here is chilled out and the swells pull in surfers from all over the world.

On Pantai Echo, beachside restaurants barbeque up fresh seafood while tourists and locals alike sip on Bintangs, sitting on colourful bean bags as they watch the even more colourful sunsets. The problem, is not only bean bags are scattered on the beach, as litter can also be found. This should be addressed before it stops tourists from returning.

Further north, away from the bass lines of Echo Beach and Batu Bolong’s bars sits Seseh Beach, the right choice for those wishing to escape the crowds. There are some stunning villas here – Sejuk Villas being right on the beach – but these are quite pricey, so for those on a budget, grab a motorbike and head here for the day – just remember to bring food and drink as not one store exists…yet.

And that’s the thing with Canggu; it’s developing at the speed of light, and the incessant sound of the power saw can be heard nearly everywhere you go. So, if you’re looking for some quiet time, make sure you check with the hotel before you book to see if there are any renovation works in the area, as this could quite easily steal your chill.

Yoga for yogis

Most places you stay in Canggu will put you within 10 minutes of the beach, which sets it apart from Ubud. Canggu is home to a number of excellent yoga studios, the most notable in the area being Samadi Bali on Jl. Padang Linjong, Desa Seni Yoga on Jl. Pantai Berawa, and Serenity Yoga on Jl. Nelayan.

Samadi is set amongst greenery with a delicious vegetarian cafe serving a mix of western and Indian delights, and yoga is done over a pond, so the sound of trickling water can further centre you. Classes cost Rp.120,000 and in the mornings you have the chance to experience Mysore style, a class where students practice the self study of Ashtanga under the watchful eye and aid of the instructors. Samadi also offers yoga for surfers.

Desa Seni Eco Resort provides yoga and meditation classes set in peaceful, lush green and immaculately landscaped gardens with happy-chic-meets-traditional decor to further inspire you and make you feel good about the world. Classes cost Rp.120,000 and include complimentary tea. Organic food can be found in the restaurant, so you’ll be sure to eat well after you work out.

Serenity Yoga is located behind Alkaline restaurant, and although the yoga studio may not be as naturally inspiring as Samadi or Desa Seni, classes here are very popular at Rp.100,000. Mysore, YinYasa and Ashtanga for surfers are also available. Try the vegan cheesecake with a chai tea at Alkaline afterwards.

Spa it up

After a morning of intense surfing or yoga, what better to do than visit the spa for some much-needed R and R? There are plenty of options available in the area, with most hotels offering in-room services, but do make the effort to visit Therapy Spa at the end of Jl. Padang Linjong, just before you hit Echo Beach.

Behind this non-assuming white-walled facade is a world of extremely well-trained therapists ready to bring you into deep relaxation with “the best massage in Bali”, as voted on Tripadvisor.com. Try the cream bath (head, shoulders and arm massage), the one-hour reflexology, and the Balinese massage, but make sure to book, as it understandably gets very busy here during high season.

Continue reading Canggu: Surfer-Cum-Yogi Haven

Producing Durable Pallets from Recycled Plastic Waste

Bali (and Indonesia) has received a lot of negative press in recent years with regards to plastic litter. This issue, we meet with PT Enviro Pallets, a manufacturer of nestled pallets made entirely from recycled plastic waste which would otherwise have ended up in landfills. We meet General Manager, Lars Armstrup, to find out more about where the innovative company sources their plastic waste, the manufacturing process, and the their environmentally-conscious values. 

Enviro Pallets was founded by Matthew Darby in New Zealand – when and for what reason was the plastic recycling plant opened in Bali?

We started in 2012, moving the equipment across from the previous factory in Christchurch, New Zealand.  In visits to Indonesia, Matthew saw a very significant plastic waste issue across the nation, and discussions with the National Investment Agency highlighted the added issues surrounding this in Bali. A strong local desire for solutions to help tackle the plastic waste problem, and to keep Bali Clean, ultimately led to the decision to set up our first Asian factory here.

What excited you about coming onboard?

Having worked for 30 years in logistics and industrial manufacturing in six different Asian countries, I am intimately aware of the challenges around raw-material requirements to keep supply chains moving, specifically the high demand for timber to produce pallets for the movement of finished products.

Global estimates state that more than 40 percent of the world’s sawn timber is used to produce wood pallets. Our unique Thermo Fusion™ technology allows us to use the recycled plastics others do not want, thus benefitting from a low raw-material cost, making our plastic pallets directly competitive with wood pallets, at the same price.

We truly believe we will introduce a real alternative to the use of wood, and the infinite re-use of plastics over and over again. Not only do we use 100 percent recycled plastic, but our products are also themselves 100 percent recyclable, enabling us to use the same plastic raw material multiple times.

Can you give us a brief explanation of the Thermo Fusion™ production process?

We take mixed plastics, shred it and subsequently subject it to heat and pressure, mechanically binding the polymers of the different types of plastics. This results in a malleable plastic substance that under very high pressure is formed into the finished product of a pallet.

The uniqueness of our equipment is that we are able to use mixed plastics of all types in one combined process. This is different to what normally happens in the recycling of plastics. Normally, polymers must be segregated, to for example only contain PET or only HDPE, which is then converted to granules and mixed with virgin plastics for injection moulding processes.

 Plastic at PT Enviro PalletsHow many tonnes of plastic do you process a day?

We just started our second production line, and with that we can now process more than 600 MTS of plastic per month – most of which would have gone to landfills.

How do you collect the plastic waste used to make your pallets?

We work with recyclers in Bali, who supply steady volumes of plastic to us. We have recently established programmes with the Bali Government’s departments of Sanitation, Gardening and the Environment, allowing us to work directly with the island’s nine regencies and their sub-districts. Two of these are now our active suppliers of recycled plastics, and we continue to engage with the remaining, expecting to have covered all during 2016. Supplies also come from schools and brand retail shops, where we engage with them on campus and in-store to facilitate their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.

How much do you pay per kilogram of plastic waste that people bring to you?

First of all, we want clean and dry plastic. Clean means free from non-plastic material such as cardboard, paper, glass, aluminium foil, etc. We can deal with varying degrees of these in the process, but we run the most efficient when these are not present. But for the plastic types themselves we do not distinguish between the different kinds of polymers, as we readily mix them all together in our process.

Our pricing starts at Rp.1,200 per kg of plastic and increases with the cleanliness and dryness of plastic that we receive. Being willing to pay for something that people normally throw away is having a positive impact in the communities that we work with.

 Besides the fact that they’re created from plastic waste, what else makes your pallets special?

There are literally hundreds of different pallet sizes and functionalities in use around the world – our process allows us to produce all of them. Plastic is stronger than wood, and therefore gives a better performance over time compared to wood. Even though our pallets will eventually break, the difference with wood is that a damaged wooden pallet has very limited use at the end of its short life. Wood pallets are either burnt (for energy), grinded up (for mulching purposes), or in the vast majority of cases disposed of to rot. Because our process uses 100 percent recycled plastic, we simply take back the damaged pallets, grind them up and run them through our production process again, to be reborn as new pallets.

Please tell us about your expansion plans, especially to Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta.

We have significant ambitions both on a national and global basis. We do expect to expand into Java and beyond in the very near future.

Bye Bye Plastic Bags have been given a MoU by the provincial government in Bali to stop giving away free plastic bags in 2016 and ban plastic bags altogether by 2018. How will this affect production at your plant?

Melati and Isabel, who founded Bye Bye Plastic Bags, are such an inspiration – amazing girls. I met with them recently and banning plastic bags is definitely the way to go. I believe other cities around Indonesia are working on similar schemes. Unfortunately, the global production of plastic continues to rise at about four percent annually, and the sad fact is that even if all plastic bags were banned, it would still only make a small reduction in the total plastic output. There is so much new plastic being made every day.

We cannot function as a world without plastic, but through what we do, we believe we help to move us to a point of ‘no new plastic being put into the world’, as we can infinitely recycle the same plastics again and again, even though they are all mixed.

Lars Armstrup, General Manager of PT Enviro Pallets, Bali
Lars Armstrup, General Manager of PT Enviro Pallets, Bali

As the General Manager of a business that actively contributes towards a cleaner world, you must be extremely passionate about what you do. What work ethics that you hold dear to your heart would you like to see other business owners embody?

I love what we do. Few people are given the opportunity to head up an enterprise that truly holds the potential to change a segment of the world, and in this respect our team and I are very fortunate. I am not sure that I am necessarily any different from other business leaders, however I am fuelled by passion – because I believe that is the only way to achieve excellence.

My work ethics are a real sense of purpose, strong determination and focus, which allow you to work through the unavoidable challenges and road blocks that are always present in business. Ultimately though, ‘Deliver The Promise’. What we promise to our customers, all my colleagues, our suppliers and communities is vital, as that is the only way in which we can achieve long-term sustainability both on the environmental front and for ourselves as a business.

Thank you, Lars. To get in touch, email:  marketing@enviropallets.com

Turning Passion into Profits: Aaron Mashano of Leaders of Tomorrow

Zambian-born Aaron Mashano moved to Australia in 2001 to study English, law and commerce. He was drawn towards helping young migrants in prison, which led him to build his business in educating people to turn their passion into profits. In 2012, he moved his headquarters to Bali and wrote his books, The Economic Migrant and Seeds of the Wawa Tree – 11 African Short Stories. We talk to Aaron to find out more about his business consultancy, workshops, passion and how Bali chose him.

Where are you based at the moment?

I live in Canggu but will probably be making Sanur my base soon. My business model works around partnering up with co-working spaces because I get the ideal clients with the seed to start up and monetise their passion. It’s also a really good community space, so you find people are a bit more relaxed. Sanur has a place called Kumpul, which is in a creative house called Rumah Sanur. It is the first co-working space I’ve found that has a 50-50 split between expat and Indonesians, which is great for me.

What led you to pursue the work that you do now?

I’m a humanitarian at heart and working in the corporate arena, I wasn’t really seeing the impact with individuals and communities. So, I started branching out in social enterprises on the side and found that I was more passionate about that.

How was Leaders of Tomorrow born?

When my son was born, I started questioning my behaviours, actions and my role in life. ‘Am I here to look good or am I here to make a difference to future generations?’ I figured out that I wanted my life to mean something. I always knew that I wanted to become a coach or a writer or a speaker but I never thought I could do it. In 2012, I set up a business with a silly name that keeps me accountable and I really do my best so that my son can follow suit.

Tell us about the work you did in juvenile prisons.

I started working with juveniles in prison, teaching them about life skills, communication and confidence building. A lot of the African migrant community were ending up in prison because of identity issues, which refugees and immigrants face. We started getting really good results and I got a real addiction to helping young people find opportunities.

Was it difficult for you as a migrant in Australia?

I’m an eternal optimist, but it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve done, especially with the language barrier. As an African, black man trying to find his feet in Australia, I think I lost myself trying to become someone who I thought I needed to be. I found myself being one of the best performers in interview and job settings but I just wasn’t getting picked. I had to work 10 times harder to get the job, which I did, and I found myself in middle management within a year because of my work ethic. Australia opened it all up for me and after six years I got my permanent residency and the sky was the limit.

What attracted you to set up Leaders of Tomorrow in Bali?

I was going through my own spiritual journey and I came to Bali to speak and ended up running a workshop. I have to admit I had my own ‘Eat Pray Love’ experience, so I thought maybe it was a good time to expand internationally. I came back to Bali a few months later to write and by the time I finished my book, I realised I felt more at home in Bali. By February 2014 I was living here, but I still run my operations in Perth and I’m looking to expand to the US.

Did Bali welcome you with open arms?

I’ll put it this way, I’ve been in Australia for 15 years and I was calling Bali home pretty much a month after I moved. It just resonates with me.

Leaders of tomorrow workshopTell us about your Bali workshops.

I started my first ‘Passion 2 Profit’ workshop in Bali in August 2014, which I run every quarter in Sanur. I’m looking for people who have a talent or a passion and want to create an enterprise around it. Our workshops run for six hours and we help to identify people’s passion, refine their skills, and ways of monetising to create an enterprise.

How many people do you have in your workshops?

A maximum of 50; I used to take 400, which would be better for a keynote speech, which I’m interested to pursue in Jakarta.

What happens after each workshop? Explain your business consulting services.

Because I have more of a personal approach, I try to find out about the individuals who join my workshops, discovering what their core needs are. 80 percent of the people that do attend are probably not suited for my post-workshop business consulting services. If you continue on with me, you can either buy a book, study online, or I take a few people on a personalised consultancy where we talk once a month. For the latter option, you have to be really ready. By the third month you should have your business up-and-running and by the sixth month you should be making a profit.

How many people ‘make it’ with you?

A majority of them do eventually make it, which is why I can only take 20 percent of the room at any given time.

What traits of a successful person do you notice in your workshops?

Jim Rohn, my favourite mentor of all time said, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you find an excuse.”

When people don’t show up at my workshop, chances are they’re not in that 20 percent group. In the workshop we play games oriented around action-taking and I find by the end of the six hours, 20 percent have played most of the games and played them competitively. If you think about it in the business world, if you’re not out there hustling, you won’t build a business. If you won’t hustle in a safe environment with a small amount of risk, you’re not likely to hustle at a bigger level with a lot of risk, and sharks in the market place. Within half of the workshop, I have cherry-picked and know who is most likely going to be someone I’d like to work with as their personal business consultant.

Tell us about the different workshops you have on offer and how much they cost to join.

‘Passion 2 Profit’ is more expat-oriented and ‘Business Blitz’ is more for local businesses, where people ask for specific advice on specific problems. ‘Passion 2 Profit’ costs Rp.350,000 but if it’s at a co-working space where you’re a member, then it’s Rp.250,000. ‘Business Blitz’ is Rp.150,000. Both workshops run for six hours.

Do you notice differences in business approach between expat and Indonesian people in your workshops?

I find the Indonesian and Balinese to be very straight-forward. They know exactly what their business is and what it is not. Usually they are very focused on sales. With the expat community, the business should be simple but I spend more time trying to simplify what’s going on in their minds. They’re worrying about how they’re going to make a million dollars to worrying about what the government thinks, so we don’t get the business started. The expats are also very much about perfection, whereas the Indonesian market want to get the product out there and refine as they go. In the most practical way, the Indonesian entrepreneur is probably more suited for business because that’s what business is.

What’s next for you?

5 December will be my last 2015 workshop in Bali and I plan to do something in Jakarta before then. Next year I will launch in San Francisco, Amsterdam and Africa. I’m also creating an e-business suite, which will allow my clients online marketing campaigns and administrative service, so they can focus more on building their businesses.

Thank you, Aaron. To get in touch, email ceo@lotprofit.com