JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 21 : THE URGENCY OF CHANGING THE STATUS OF SPENT BLEACHING EARTH (SBE)
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The refining process of crude palm oil (CPO/CPKO), In addition to producing the main product in the form of RBD Palm Oil (RBDPO), that process also produce by products are Palm Fatty Acid Distillate (PFAD) and solid waste namely Spent Bleacing Earth (SBE). The presence of metal and oil residues, refers to Government Regulations 101/2014 which categorizes SBE as hazardous and toxic materials waste Category 2 waste from a Special Specific Source with code B413. Even though it is categorized as hazardous and toxic materials, SBE processing can produce intermediate input (R-Oil and De-Obe), that can be used to produce construction materials to biodiesel.
However, the large economic potential and business prospects of SBE processing have not been optimally developed. One of the crucial obstacles related to the development of the SBE processing industry in Indonesia is the status of SBE as hazardous and toxic materials. The status is not attractive (disincentive) to investors, because it implies strict procedures and requirements that must be met to manage hazardous and toxic materials waste. In addition, that status also has the potential to affect the image of the product and industry both in the national palm oil industry.
When compared to other countries such as Malaysia, India and the European Union, SBE is not categorized as hazardous and toxic materials. This will have further implications, namely the weakening of the competitiveness of Indonesian oil and palm oil derivative products in the global market.
Based on this, it can be seen that the urgency or importance of changing the status of SBE from hazardous and toxic materials to non-hazardous waste should even be categorized as an intermediate input (feedstock) that can be safely utilized by the industry. Government Regulations 101/2014 opens the opportunity to change the category of a hazardous and toxic materials. (Article 7 paragraph 7) with waste characteristic test.
Ministry of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia in 2015 through the Letter of the Minister of Industry of the Republic of Indonesia No. 447/M-IND/9/2015 addressed to the Minister of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia, proposing recommendations for changing the status of SBE to non-hazardous. However, up to six years after Government Regulations 101/2014 was issued there were no new regulations as feedback from the Minister of Industry’s letter.
Good news comes from Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry 10/2020, stated that SBE waste is included in waste category which is shortened procedure for submitting an exception from the category of hazardous and toxic materials waste so that its status can be changed to non-hazardous waste or by-products. Although the Regulation of the Minister of Environment and Forestry does not mention that SBE is removed from the hazardous and material toxic waste category, but this regulation becomes a step that can make it easier for companies or palm oil stakeholders to prove that SBE is not classified as hazardous and material toxic.
With government regulations/policies, it is clear that SBE status as a production input (not hazardous and toxic materials) it is hoped that it will become an incentive for investors in the development of the SBE processing industry in palm oil centers. It is also hoped that the development of the SBE waste processing industry can create large economic benefits such as increased value added, employment and increased income. Another impact of the development of the SBE processing industry is the opportunity for the palm oil industry (refinery to downstream industries) to become a green industry that has successfully implemented the principle of zero waste in its production process.