Bogor City village overcomes pandemic hardships with textile waste

Like the rest of the world, families in Sindangsari Village of Bogor City, Indonesia faced the hardships brought about by COVID-19. Higher unemployment rates, lack of livelihood,  and stay-at-home mandates saw community members finding hope in an unlikely place–textile waste.

In 2021, the number of unemployed individuals in Bogor City reached 12.6% or 175,000 individuals due to the pandemic.

Despite being a thriving village in Bogor City, thanks to its vibrant small and medium enterprises economy (UMKM) prior to COVID-19, Sindangsari Village was not excluded from the economic impact of lockdowns. Poverty rates of low-income households in Sindangsari doubled in number, from 581 to 1190 households during the first year of the pandemic.

The impact of the pandemic steered the village to finding ways to alleviate the worsening poverty situation. The residents’ solution? Sustainable and profitable alternative livelihood activities using textile waste.

Impactful, community-scale benefits rooted in volunteerism

Mardianto, owner of PT HAS Sibalulungan who voluntarily provides a sewing workspace to the community of  Perca Village.

The transition of Sindangsari Village into today’s Perca Village can be traced back to when Mardianto, owner of a home-based sewing workshop, voluntarily offered sewing courses to a handful of local housewives around the area. The classes utilized sacks of scrap cloth–called perca in Bahasa Indonesia–from his warehouse and turned them into valuable textile goods.

After receiving positive responses from the community, Bu Nining, Head of Sindangsari Village (RW 01 Sindangsari), helped promote and grow the group to 15 housewives.

“COVID-19 was very unexpected. While it was hard to adjust to the unthinkable circumstances, we  still wanted to create something positive for our neighborhood,” said Mardianto in Bahasa.

He has since allocated a dedicated sewing workspace and gallery corner for the community in his workshop.

“I’ll do what I can do for my community as long as I’m not being asked to present a proposal. I’m most definitely not good at it,” joked Mardianto, saying he prefers to work behind the scenes.

Circularity to boost creativity, livelihood, and sustainability

When asked about the reason for utilizing textile waste, Bu Nining explained that Sindangsari Village was already known for its sustainability efforts in waste management.

“We are aware that textile waste is one of the growing issues affecting the environment. We see repurposing garment waste as a sustainable option for alternative livelihoods. Instead of adopting a traditional, linear business model, we want to utilize the existing waste materials to create something new and useful,” explained Bu Nining.

Textiles are some of the most common landfill wastes. The global fashion industry also contributes over 10% of worldwide emissions, more than the combined emissions from the aviation and maritime industries. 

Sewing workspace at the Perca Village in Bogor City.

From an initial group of 15 housewives in 2020, the workshop now serves as the production base of 30 women, all helping divert and transform garment wastes into various valuable products, including masks, doormats, aprons, pillowcases, clothes, tablecloths, and more.

They received textile waste from various sources, including garment manufacturer PT Poli and Bogor city’s industry and trade service agency (DISPERINDAG). On average, the community is able to use anywhere from 10 to 30 sacks of garment textiles on a busy week, with the number varying based on the amount of incoming orders. For instance, a production of one doormat will need around 1-2 kg of textile waste as material.

Perca-HAS workshop gallery at Perca Village in Bogor City.

Besides producing goods in the workshop, the community usually receives invitations to collaborate for exhibitions and attend pop-up bazaars. Last December 2022, the community worked with a local designer, Adrie Basuki, who aims to have a zero-waste production process for his patchwork design collection. 

“I personally feel grateful for the program and its achievements. During the pandemic, many families faced economic hardships because they were forced to stay at home. At the time, we learned to sew various products. We found means to help our families,” said Ibu Wasinah, a member of the Perca Village community.

Reaping the tourism co-benefits

As the Perca Village initiative continues to grow, the community’s collective action has brought to it attention from many key stakeholders, including the private sector -namely KADIN, PHRI and Bank BJB- and the local governments of Bogor City and West Java Province.

Governor of West Java, Ridwan Kamil and Mayor of Bogor city, Bima Arya Sugiarto inaugurated Perca village as Bogor city’s tourism destination on 17 December 2021. Photo source:

The inclusive and bottom-up approach has inspired the head of the Local Craft Council of Bogor City (Dekranasda) to officially launch Perca Village as part of the city’s sustainability efforts last December 2021. The Village’s celebration was attended by the West Java Governor Ridwan Kamil and Bogor Mayor Bima Arya Sugiarto.

Today, Perca Village has become one of the most popular areas among Bogor City’s tourism destinations. Its thematic and festive-like decoration initiated by the local government and investors have helped to promote the area, give life to local business, and attract various visitors. 

Providing best practices and lessons learned from its  bottom-up sustainability and circularity efforts, Perca Village also hosts study tours attended by municipality representatives from across the country.


Community of Perca Village with ICLEI Indonesia staff.

What started as one man’s voluntary effort has become a hallmark of local sustainability in Bogor. Perca Village’s accomplishments is proof that people-centered and stakeholder-driven circularity efforts can reap multiple significant co-benefits–in this case, livelihoods, tourism, and advocacy–on top of the expected contributions to climate action.

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