Soneva launches Maker Programme to introduce plastic recycling in Maldives

Soneva 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. Guests and resort hosts are not invited to use the machine, and get creative with plastic waste to make a range of products like flower pots, bowls and even children’s toys.

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,” Sonu Shivdasani, Soneva’s founder and CEO, was quoted in a statement, as saying.

“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 percent of its solid waste, with glass, food waste, jungle trimmings and polystyrene all processed on-site. The group says the focus is now on tackling the last 10 percent, 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 said it 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.

According to Soneva, inviting guests and resort hosts to get creative with plastic waste to make a range of products is the first phase of the Soneva Maker Programme, which 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.

Established in 1995, Soneva Fushi is the original Soneva. The No News, No Shoes blueprint for all desert island barefoot luxury hideaways is located within the Baa Atoll UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in the Maldives. Soneva Fushi inspires the imagination with 65 spacious beachfront villas, ranging in size from one to nine bedrooms, hidden amongst dense foliage.

The iconic resort has bagged several international awards for eco-friendly tourism and green initiatives, including the 2017 Green Hotelier Award for the Asia Pacific region and the Sustainable Hotel Award by the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) as well as a spot in the Gold List compiled by Condé Nast Traveler China as the Best Hotel in the Maldives and amongst the best resorts in the world in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2017.

Soneva also operates the Soneva Jani resort and Soneva in Aqua luxury yacht in the Maldives.

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