The global waste problem challenges the notions of growth, modernisation, and human-nonhuman relations. Although it is closely connected to power differences and socio-ecological injustice, classical approaches that interpret waste as reflecting social order are outdated by now. No matter if we subscribe to the notions of Anthropocene, Capitalocene or Plasticene – there is no doubt that waste and pollution affect all humans as well as other-than-humans. Whereas the globalized environmentalist discourse emphasizes a new feeling of entanglement with nature as a tentative path to transform the waste problem, our fieldwork in Java revealed that an abstract notion of – or relation to – nature is not seen as crucial by most actors. Rather, what counts for the individual is the immediate social environment. This paper combines an exploration of the everyday littering practices of rural and urban Javanese people with an analysis of their peculiar ways of relating to the environment. Bottom-up initiatives such as community-based 'waste banks', communal 'clean-ups' and 'recycle fashion' street carnivals that address various social, economic, and emotional aspects are reflecting the mobilisation of the local social and moral world. These initiatives and events bring different social groups together in joint practice and joyful performance. However, it is not certain that this will generate a less consumptive lifestyle leading to the much-needed reduction of waste. Nevertheless, for transregional collaboration we need to think through differences in thought and practice.