A waste bank is a unique community-based waste management system that promotes source separation of waste and recycling. This study conducted a total population sampling targeting all identified waste bank units in Medan City (N=100) between September 2017 and February 2018. Descriptive statistics were applied to address 16 research questions and test four hypotheses. The total amount of recyclable waste recovered through all 77 active waste bank units was 1.9 tonne/day, corresponding to 0.1% of the whole waste generation in Medan City. This rate was not exceptionally low compared to other cities in Indonesia, generally less than 0.5%, with a few exceptions of more than 5%. This study also revealed that the number of waste banks newly established in Medan City peaked in 2015 and dramatically dropped in 2017, while the number of closed waste banks increased in 2015 and 2016. These findings suggested that the contribution of waste banks to 3R is too small in magnitude and provides a warning to the optimistic scenarios that put excessive expectations on the waste banks as a critical contributor to achieving the 30% waste reduction target by 2025 as set out in the Presidential Regulation No. 97/2017. To achieve this target in Medan City, addressing the challenges identified from this study and optimizing the waste bank system in promoting recovery and recycling of waste at the community level is needed to introduce other waste recovery systems such as material recovery facilities composting.

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