The Maldives is one of those lust-worthy vacation spots that could make you punch your Instagram feed in jealousy when friends post photos frolicking in its crystal blue waters and white sand beaches. But one thing most people don’t feature in their vacation pics is the archipelago’s “rubbish island,” which is made up of the world’s waste, or the piles of plastic that wash up on the islands’ pristine beaches.
To help curb this problem, the Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives has launched an innovative maker program dedicated to finding new uses for the plastic that washes up on the archipelago’s shores. The program will let guests use their new Eco Centro machine to transform plastic waste into souvenirs like flower pots, bowls, and children’s toys. While it’s a fun activity to fit in between kitesailing and sand castle building, the hotel’s on-site plastic recycling is part of the grassroots Precious Plastic global initiative, which works to increase plastic recycling by making open-source, low-cost, plastic recycling machines.
The program is part of Soneva’s ongoing mission to become zero waste. It banned the use of plastic water bottles in 2008 and recycles 90% of its solid waste–with glass, food waste, jungle trimmings and polystyrene all processed onsite. Now the focus is on tackling the last 10%, which includes small amounts of plastic, paper, cloth, and Tetra Pak packaging. The fact that the new onsite plastic recycling is fun for the whole family is just an added benefit.