From Beach Club to Eco Resort: The Sustainable Transformation of Desa Potato Head Beach Club, Bali

Last month, our team visited the iconic Desa Potato Head Beach Club, a hotspot for sun-seekers, art enthusiasts, and party-goers alike. Over the years, this venue has evolved from a simple beach club into a resort, design hotel, art retreat, and is now a sustainability showpiece, remarkably becoming the first Indonesian hospitality company to be independently verified as carbon neutral.

Nestled among the bustling streets of Seminyak, Bali, the building itself is worth a visit, featuring a colosseum-inspired structure and a facade, constructed using 6,600 antique wooden shutters collected from across Indonesia, making it a true architectural marvel.

What impressed us the most, is that it now stands as a beacon of sustainability, championing innovative waste reduction practices that has set a gold standard for the hospitality industry across Indonesia with its mission to become “Zero Waste - To Landfill”. This ambitious goal is pursued through various innovative strategies, and is well on target, given their waste to landfill sits at 2.7% as of the latest data from 2023. A stark comparison to neighbouring resorts which are sitting at around 50%

Waste Reduction Practices at Potato Head Beach Club Bali

Comprehensive Recycling Program

The ethos of ‘good times, do good’ is woven into the fabric of Potato Heads operations, ensuring that their impact on the environment is as minimal as possible. At the heart of its waste reduction efforts is a robust recycling program. Every single piece of waste generated within the premises is meticulously sorted into Organics, Inorganics and Recyclables and Residue. Glass, plastic, paper and metal are all separated and processed onsite, with the majority being repurposed for items used within the hotels/restaurants and a small amount being sent to local recycling facilities. The club has also partnered with local organisations to ensure that recyclable materials are processed efficiently, dramatically reducing the volume of waste that ends up in landfills. 

Zero-Waste Philosophy

Food waste from the kitchens is not discarded but transformed into nutrient- rich compost, which is then used to nourish the club’s organic garden. This closed-loop system minimises waste and supports the growth of fresh, local produce for the restaurant. 

Any food waste that cannot be composted is pulverised and turned to animal feed, whilst cooking oil collected from the kitchens is converted into biofuel or candles. Additionally, oyster shells are ground into a fine powder and combined with styrofoam collected from deliveries to create ornamental items used within the hotel and Beach Club, such as tissue boxes, soap dispensers, and toothbrush holders. These items essentially come with a lifetime guarantee, as they can be broken down and remade using the same processes and materials if they ever break.

Overall Potato Head has minimised their waste to only a handful of items to go to landfill, which includes, cigarette butts, white tissues or face masks and latex gloves.

Upcycling Initiatives

One of the most inspiring aspects of Potato Head’s approach is their commitment to upcycling. The club has embarked on numerous creative projects to repurpose waste materials. Old plastic bottles and lids are turned into eco-friendly building materials, furniture and artistic installations that adorn the club. This includes everything from menus and hotel signage to poolside lockers and designer Kaleido chairs by British Interior designer, Max Lamb. Glass bottles are turned into candle holders, with the wax partially derived from used cooking oil from the kitchen. Even old bedsheets are repurposed into pouches for workshops. These efforts not only divert waste from landfills but also raises awareness about the potential of upcycling.


In the courtyard of Potato Head Studios, a striking sculpture commissioned by the club and crafted by renowned New York artist Futura2000 captures the attention of all who enter. This monumental artwork, named River Warrior, stands as a testament to the power of upcycling and community collaboration. Constructed from an array of repurposed materials, including motor oil bottles and discarded water gallon lids, the sculpture is both a visual marvel and a symbol of sustainable innovation. Sourced through the efforts of the community organisation Yayasan Kakikita.

River Warrior embodies Potato Head's dedication to environmental responsibility and artistic expression, making it a centrepiece that inspires and educates visitors about the importance of recycling and creativity in addressing waste.

Education and Community Engagement

Desa Potato Head plays a pivotal role in educating guests and the local community about sustainability. They don’t just talk about it, they put it front and centre, by regularly hosting workshops and events focused on waste reduction and environmental conservation, along with guided tours of their on-site open air workshops, which provide valuable insights into the club's innovative practices. By involving both the community and visitors, they are fostering a culture of sustainability that extends far beyond the club’s premises.

Reusable and Biodegradable Products

You will be hard pressed to find single-use plastics in the venue, with the Beach Club replacing them with reusable and biodegradable alternatives. Guests are provided with reusable straws, cups, and cutlery, significantly cutting down on plastic waste. This shift not only reduces environmental impact but also sets a powerful example for other businesses in the region.

Sustainable Partnerships

Desa Potato Head collaborates with various local and international organisations to enhance its waste reduction efforts. These partnerships enable the club to stay at the forefront of sustainable practices, continually improving and innovating.

This really exemplifies how the hospitality industry can embrace sustainability and waste reduction. Ronald Akili, the club’s owner, recalls, “When we were going into this journey, people were telling us ‘it’s not possible.’ At the end of the day, the most important thing is progress over perfection.” A belief that mirrors Fressko’s philosophy: better together, forward forever.

Through comprehensive recycling, zero-waste goals, upcycling initiatives, education, and sustainable partnerships, Desa Potato Head is paving the way for a greener future. As a guest, you can enjoy a guilt-free experience, knowing that your good times are contributing to a greater good.

Bravo, we say!

Verdict: 11/10 👍

Header Photo credit: Desa Potato Head

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published