With its ecologically ‘green’ shop frontage, IbuBumi is Bali’s latest environmentally-friendly supplier of wholesome home products - a shop with a conscience to watch in Berawa.
Words by Rebecca Foreman.
It’s actually a great green story. A group of Mums met through their kids and started walking their dogs routinely along the streets of Berawa. Over time, they began to notice the environment changing and not necessarily for the better. The water canals started smelling, the sludge started to become increasingly visible, the water became greyer. When their kids left for University, they looked at retirement for a nano-second, got bored of that, and decided to put their energies into saving the planet instead.
Ibu Bumi means Mother Earth in Bahasa Indonesia and consists of a group of women who would like to be considered as exactly that – no names, no egos, just a collective of like-minded women saving the environment, one eco-friendly product at a time. I am told by one of the mums that Ibu Bumi Bali grew out of this need for action and the dire need to return to Mother Earth for answers – to remember the traditional methods from our grandmothers that have existed since the beginning of our time, before things had to be available instantly.
Enter the ‘Soap Nuts’, because one of the Ibus remembered her grandmother using them to wash her colourful batiks – and somehow, throughout the years, they never lost their bright and beautiful colour. Soap Nuts are a product of the Sapindus Mukorossi (lerak) tree which is 100% organically grown by Mother Nature herself. The soap nuts contain saponins naturally and have the ability to create suds. Once you have suds you can emulsify dirt out of fabrics and then you have clean clothes, which means there are no chemicals, preservatives or hormone disruptors – the nasties that can create all sorts of skin issues, like eczema, allergies and psoriasis.
After some tests and trials, the Ibus decided they could sell these nuts cheaply to the locals and expats living in Berawa as a natural alternative to washing detergent, which inevitably will reduce the micro-plastic pollution that is growing at a worrying rate in our waterways, and therefore improving the growing grey water problem. As such, the Ibus have planted their own forest of Soap Nut trees in the mountains of Bali, which will take five years to yield, but that’s all part of the journey for Ibu Bumi, and as the famous Indonesian saying goes, a lerak tree has the ability to feed a family for seven generations.
From roots come fruits, and we’re growing those now.” – Ibu Bumi
Across the country of Indonesia, there is undoubtedly an underlying consciousness steadily gaining momentum and we can see it all over the media, particularly with the young and aspiring eco-warriors at Bye Bye Plastic Bags. People are talking about environmental concerns and it is manifesting through the nation. This group of Ibus decided they could no longer look away and sweep the problem under the rattan carpet.
Their call to action has been to open shop doors in Berawa and online early this year, and word is spreading that Ibu Bumi’s eco-friendly products are cheap, but more importantly, they work! Stocking their shelves you will find bestsellers like the reusable beeswax wraps, bamboo straws, all-purpose bags, and of course, the legendary detergent soap nuts.
If we keep costs low then we can change the locals, and that’s where the change starts.” – Ibu Bumi
These mothers are stewarding an evolutionary revolution with a zero plastic policy in production and distribution. Their packaging and products are completely compostable, and totally commendable.
Words by Rebecca Foreman
Currently living the island life in Bali with her family, Rebecca fills her days with travelling, writing and reviewing, often with the kids in tow. Follow her bountiful island adventures on her Instagram page.