Resorts Launch ‘Maker Programme’ to introduce plastic recycling in the Maldives
Soneva, the world-leading luxury resort operator, has announced that it has started recycling plastic as part of the ‘Soneva Maker Programme’. Beginning at Soneva Fushi, this programme will see Soneva join the grass-roots ‘Precious Plastic’ global initiative to increase plastic recycling, by fabricating their open source machines from locally available, low cost materials. In due course the programme will be extended so that Soneva resorts recycle plastic collected from neighbouring islands as well.
At Soneva Fushi’s Eco Centro, the first machine has been constructed which remoulds plastic waste into fun, functional and artistic items. The Soneva Maker Programme is part of Soneva’s plan to encourage guests and hosts (employees) to participate in recycling initiatives, to educate younger guests about how things are made and to emphasise the ‘Waste-to-Wealth’ concept.
By joining the ‘Precious Plastic’ initiative, which has captured the imagination of people all over the world, Soneva is now the first company in the Maldives to recycle plastic into new products. Soneva already limits the amount of plastic used on-site, banning plastic water bottles since 2008, yet small amounts still arrive with food transportation and as guests’ rubbish.
“We aim to change the perception of waste; plastic is precious and discarded items can be resources for a whole new range of useful products,” said Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s founder and CEO. “We are proud to be part of the conversation on plastic recycling and join the global ‘maker movement’. Soneva has been recycling for a very long time, but we’ve taken it to the next level with these plastic recycling machines and we look forward to encouraging our skilled hosts and guests to work with us to create items of value from waste”.
Soneva has a target of zero waste, and already recycles 90% of its solid waste, with glass, food waste, jungle trimmings and polystyrene all processed on-site. Now the focus is on tackling the last 10%, which includes small amounts of plastic, paper, cloth and Tetra Pak packaging.
Plastic waste is a well-documented issue in the Maldives, with ocean plastic regularly washing up on its pristine beaches. This global scourge was highlighted again last week at the UN Environment Assembly in Kenya, where representatives put forward a UN resolution to completely stop plastic waste from entering the oceans. Soneva believes that part of the solution is to demonstrate the value of plastic waste recycling to local economies, inspiring communities to collect and reuse plastic before it has a chance to enter our oceans.
Soneva already extends its Waste-to-Wealth efforts beyond the resort for the Soneva Art & Glass programme, upcycling waste glass bottles collected from neighbouring islands in the region. Every month, anywhere between 500 and 1,000 kilograms of glass is collected, washed, crushed and prepared for recycling by the Eco Centro team, with regular deliveries to Soneva’s Glass Studio. It is then melted down in the company’s state-of-the-art glass furnace. From there, a variety of techniques are used, such as blowing, casting, and slumping to create extraordinary pieces of art that are of a much higher value than the glass was in its original bottle form.
Inviting guests and resort hosts to get creative with plastic waste to make a range of products like flower pots, bowls and even children’s toys is the first phase of the ‘Soneva Maker Programme’.