Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP):
Business Opportunity for Small Industries


Small and medium industries, workshops and service businesses form an important part of the socio-economic fabric of both urban and rural areas around Indonesia. Small enterprises provide jobs and incomes and deliver goods and services that improve lives in community and of consumers. The business operations though consume materials, water and energy, and release waste, waste water and air emissions, causing adverse impact on the local and global environment and climate. This also involves costs, particularly for purchasing materials and energy, yet also in terms of losses of off specification products as waste. While impact from single industries is small in absolute terms the collective impact of small industries is relevant at local, regional and national scales. 

By focussing on using materials, water and energy more efficiently and eliminating the causes of wastes, enterprises can improve productivity and save money. This practice is known as Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP). Rooted in the manufacturing and processing industries, over past decade, pilot projects including in Indonesia and elsewhere in (South East) Asia have proven that RECP concepts and practices can also be beneficially applied in a range of small industry sectors.

Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production

RECP is concerned with preventing waste and pollution at source whilst also increasing efficiency in the use of natural resources. It starts with making more efficient use of all materials, including chemicals and packaging, and of energy and water, from all sources. This in turn minimizes the amount of waste, waste water and air emissions, which in turn improves health, safety and well-being, for employees, community and consumers. Indeed, a virtuous cycle is established whereby increased resource efficiency, consecutively minimizes wastes and improves community well-being, which in turn fosters productivity. Business benefits from spending less on procuring energy, materials and water, and by earning more from selling more and better quality products and services.


Resource Productivity

Pollution Intensity

Material Productivity

Selection and efficient use of materials, including chemicals

Waste Intensity

Reduction and environmentally sound recovery, treatment and disposal of waste

Water Productivity

Selection of sustainable sources for and efficient use of water

Waste Water Intensity

Reduction and environmentally sound treatment and disposal of waste water

Energy ProductivityEnergy Productivity

Selection of sources for and efficient use of energy

Emission Intensity

Reduction and environmentally sound discharge of air emissions

RECP Applications

RECP provides practical framework that is applicable in a wide range of industry sectors, including at small scale.

  • The Value Initiative Programme in Indonesia, reached out to 2,700 tofu and tempeh producers, who on average were able to reduce costs by 15% through use of gas powered cookers, application of stainless steel equipment, and application of good manufacturing, hygienic and waste management practices.
  • In Vietnam, ceramics workshop was able to reduce breakage/wastage by 20% through improvements in the design of tableware items.
  • In India, the ACIDLOOP project assisted with RECP interventions in small scale electroplating workshops. It was found that workshops could typically save approximately USD15,000 by investing about USD120 in insulating hot process baths with polypropylene balls. Similarly, introducing water cascading at a cost of about USD150 could also achieve up to USD15,000 annual savings.
  • Also in India, the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, found that small scale rice mills can improve their energy efficiency through typical measures like individual drive systems, efficient motors, voltage stabilizers, use of lighter plastic buckets in bucket elevators and efficient huskers and separators. These investments had typical pay back periods ranging between 18-24 months.

The Clean Batik Initiative worked to support resource efficiency and use of natural dyes in small scale batik production in Indonesia. 508 batik producers participated from Central, East and West Java, South Sulawesi and East Kalimantan. Measures implemented reduced the environmental hotspots by 48%, achieved IDR2.6 trillion annual costs savings, reduced use of LPG, firewood and kerosene, by 91%, 68% and 54% respectively, though increased electricity consumption. Moreover, nearly 4,200m3 water was saved annually.

Water Productivity

  • Reduce tank volumes
  • Reuse rinse water
  • Stop valves on hoses
  • Harvest rainwater

Energy Productivity

  • Use of electric stoves
  • Use of blowers
  • New wax removal furnace
  • Use of solar bottle lights

Materials Productivity

  • Wax spill reduction
  • Wax recovery
  • Chemical labelling and storage
  • Shift to natural dyes


RECP can at enterprise level can be achieved in different ways, typically through following  prevention techniques

Good Housekeeping

Maintain a clean, organized and productive workplace to eliminate avoidable ‘wastage’


Input Substitution

Choose inputs that are efficient, effective and/or pose minimum harm to the environment and health

Better Process Control

Monitor and control processes and equipment so that they always run at highest efficiency and with lowest wastage


Equipment Modification

Make existing equipment more efficient and less wasteful


Technology Change

Change over to new technology that is more efficient or produces less waste

On Site Reuse & Recycling

Use previously ‘wasted’ material, energy and/or water for similar or alternative purpose in company

Useful Byproduct

Convert a previous ’waste’ for a useful use elsewhere

Product Modification

Redesign product to reduce its environmental impact during production, use and/or disposal



Tourism and Hotel Sector

The 23 room De La Paix Hotel in Luang Prabang (Lao PDR) improved operation and maintenance of water heaters, air conditioners and lighting. The energy consumption per guest night was reduced by 50%. Investments mounted up to USD12,000 yet were recovered in less than 3 months.

The 69 room 3 star Golf Hotel in Hoi An (Vietnam) was able to cut energy use by over 20% through proper placing of air conditioner units, de-lamping and better housekeeping, saving in excess of USD3,500 annually. It also contributed to sustainability initiatives in local crafts industries, in particular for noodle production and lantern making


The Green Handicrafts project in Viet Nam supported growers, grass roots producers and small enterprises to adopt cleaner production and design practices in bamboo and rattan, seagrass, silk, handmade paper and lacquerware value chains sectors. 48 small enterprises were audited, 65 trainers trained and these provided grassroots training to 1,430 household producers. Moreover, sustainable product design support was provided to 21 enterprises. The project resulted in 16.5% income increase over 3 years for the participating crafts producers, relative to 9.2 % income increase for other crafts producers.

In Bamboo and Rattan value chain, RECP measures included:

  • Improved harvesting practices for better quality bamboo raw material
  • Introduction of natural preservation techniques using linseed oil and neem extract
  • New product designs from bamboo processing waste

In Seagrass value chain, RECP measures included:

  • Improved drying chambers to reduce raw material use
  • Twisting of short length seagrass into cord to be used in new product ranges

In Sericulture and Silk value chain, RECP measures included:

  • Improved techniques for reeling and degumming
  • Introduction of natural dyes
  • Improvements in synthetic dyeing
  • New product designs

RECP in Indonesia

The national Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) programme in Indonesia aims to bolster competiveness and profitability of small and medium enterprises in Indonesia. The RECP Programme focuses on key sectors that drive economic development and job creation around Indonesia and are significant in terms of consumption of materials, energy and water and potential environmental impacts. These include: textile and garments; food and beverage; tourism; industrial parks; and micro-enterprises. In each of these sectors, training and assessment services are provided to selected enterprises. Furthermore, advocacy, networking and policy support are provided to scale up and mainstream RECP uptake in these priority sectors and regions as well as beyond.

The programme has started to work with small and micro-industries, particularly with rice milling units in Western Java and tourism villages in Central Java. The engagement with micro-enterprise sector builds upon earlier cleaner production and related projects in Indonesia, including for example batik and tofu sectors, as well as elsewhere in South East Asia, including in particular in the handicrafts, tourism and related sectors.

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