Waste, garbage, trash, rubbish, whatever you like to call it, is a huge source and cause of environmental degradation – either through litter illegally dumped, which washes up on beaches all over the world and which we see lying around, or that which is legally disposed of in landfill sites, often in pristine areas, destroying them forever. Waste disposal, litter and debris on beaches and adequate recycling facilities are major concerns in the Maldives. The country currently lacks the facilities to separate, collect and recycle or reuse materials generated by households and businesses. Most resources and items that could be recycled or composted are at present treated as waste and transported from resorts and local islands to landfill. As the country develops it seems inevitable that more consumer goods will become available, consumption will increase and so will the amount of material that will need to be recycled, reused or disposed.
Six Senses Laamu is actively looking for ways to reduce the waste generated and dispose of it properly:
- We talk with our suppliers to reduce packaging when delivering supplies.
- Our printing paper is eco-labelled or recycled and we re-use the reverse side of printed paper for notes, reducing numbers of trees needed to be cut down.
- We try to reduce use of plastic bags as much as possible to reduce waste, instead using bins that can be washed or linen bags.
- Both guests and hosts are provided with re-usable glass water bottles rather than disposable plastic bottles.
- We have stopped importing well-known brands of bottled water, thereby reducing the amount of waste glass (and carbon emissions).
- Guests are encouraged to take disposable and hazardous waste items back to their own countries, where recycling facilities are more sophisticated.
- Rechargeable batteries, energy-saving light bulbs with a long lifespan, bamboo tubes for documents, purchases in bulk to avoid unnecessary packaging, the re-use of office paper, kitchen oil, waste wood and other materials are some of the many measures, through which the amount of waste on the island is reduced.
We have created our own recycling corner where waste is separated into paper, plastic, metal, glass, organic waste and toxic waste. Our compactor reduces the space required to store the waste before it is sent for recycling and proper handling. It is also easier for the recyclers to collect the waste and they do not have to come as many times. Furthermore, our own shredding machine is used for shredding garden waste, which is re-used in the garden, pathways and for composting.
A composting site has been built in which our food waste from the kitchen and restaurants is composted together with garden waste. The composting soil generated from this activity is reused in our landscape and gardening.
To make our composting as effective and odourless as possible we have implemented waste separation in the kitchen where all the food, except meat and seafood, is collected for composting. The reason meat and seafood is excluded is that these items decompose slower as well as to avoid attracting rodents. The garden waste is shredded using our chipping machine, in which some garden waste is used for composting and some for footpaths and around plants reducing unwanted weeds. The composting is taking place in a specially built area at the Eco Centro away from guest areas.
As a final note, you are encouraged not to wrap you luggage with plastic wrapping as plastic is non-biodegradable item. When thrown away it takes over 100 years for it to degrade.