Best of the Maldives: Eco-Planters – Six Senses Laamu

Six Senses Laamu - recycled flower pots

Earth Hour today – “The world’s largest demonstration of support for action on climate change. Last year, millions around the world across 178 countries came together to show support for action to protect our amazing planet.”

A popular celebration of Earth Hour is planting trees and other greenery to rejuvenate the Earth, sequester carbon from our atmosphere. Others will be pushing for sustainability initiatives like recycling. Six Senses Laamu offers a sustainable flower pot that combines both…

  • “Make your own sustainable flower pot! Our guests joined Megan, our sustainability officer and discovered how to make art and not waste, by making their own flower pots from our recycled crushed glass! Every month, Six Senses Laamu recycles hundreds of glass bottles that are reused throughout the resort in different forms. One of our favorite ways to use this recycled glass is in different art projects. We invited our guests to join us in the Earth Lab where they learnt how to make beautiful and unique flower pots out of reused glass. What better way to start off the spring than to plant something new in your own handmade flower pot!”

After all, glass is just sand and that’s pretty much most of the “earth” in the Maldives.  In honor of the day, I have added the tag “Recycling” to the blog.

Saving Dive It / Lie In

Maldives National Day today. Celebrating its independence from the Portuguese. Unfortunately, the country is still dependent on the rest of the world taking action on climate change. The very aspect which makes the Maldives to alluring, also makes it the most vulnerable. The country lies right on the edge of sea-level. Like the classic plot of sand with a palm tree. Nearly all of the Maldives wonder takes place a meter below (snorkelling) and a meter above (max elevation of the country) sea-level. As a result, changes in sea level have a profound impact on the country even existing at all (or just eventually becoming on big underwater reef).

Furthermore, one of its great attractions is it colourful reefs, but now these are being threatened by warmer sea waters in which the vibrant coral cannot survive. It is no surprise then that the entire country has become one of the most environmentally progressive on the planet. You start to appreciate your planet under your feet more intently when you only have a tiny patch of it to stand on.

Maldives Complete has been covering the many eco-sustainability initiatives by the various resorts for years now. Here is a top ten list of their ecological initiatives…

  1. EDUCATION– Kuramathi [ABOVE]
  2. RECYCLING – Kurumba
    Kurumba recycling 2
  3. REEFSCAPING – Kandooma, Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru, Four Seasons Kuda Huraa, Kurumba
    Kandooma reefscaping labels 2
  4. SOLAR POWER – Club Med Finolhu Villas
    Club Med Finolhu - solar panels 1
  5. REEF RE-GENERAT-ION – Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru
    Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru Lotus project 2
  6. LOCAL SOURCING – Jumeirah Vittaveli
    Jumeirah Vittaveli - local sourcing
  7. VOLUNTOURISM – Soneva Fushi
    Six Senses Voluntourism
  8. WASTE REDUCTION – Soneva Fushi
    Sineva Fushi - food waste reduction
  9. MANTA RESEARCH – Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru
    Four Seasons Landaa Giraavaru manta sculpture
  10. TURTLE RESEARCH – Four Seasons Kuda Huraa
    Four Seasons Kuda Huraa Nargis Fakhri turtle

Best of the Maldives: “Glass Floor” – Soneva Fushi

Soneva Fushi spa glass floor 1

One of the classic “wow” features of the super-deluxe properties are the glass floors in the water villas to peer down on the aquatic playground below. Soneva Fushi’s lack of water villas hasn’t stopped it from it from offering its own version of a truly ‘glass’ floor in its yoga pavilion. Down the centre of the room are glass floor panels. But instead of maritime life beneath, it has a sparkling canvas of crushed glass recycled from the island. It’s like an aquamarine carpet. Just another example of Soneva’s glass ingenuity.

Soneva Fushi spa glass floor 2

Best of the Maldives: Recycled Christmas Tree – Anantara Dhigu / Veli

Anantara - coconut Christmas tree

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!
Thy candles shine so brightly!
From base to summit, gay and bright,
There’s only splendor for the sight.
O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

One more sleep until Santa pays his visit to the good girls and boys. The girls and boys at Anantara (Dhigu and Veli) have been so good this year, they made their Christmas tree from discarded coconut husks. It shines in the day from the bright whit paint as well as at night with the constellation of fairy lights. One & Only Reethi Rah also has its own coconut Christmas tree (see below), Anantara has not just one, but three trees.

Furthermore, Anantara has gone a step further with another tree made out of old Evian bottles (see below)!

The three coconut trees on Dhigu are 2.5 meters, 3.4 metres and 5.0 metres high, with the tallest one made from 800 coconuts. The other two trees take up around 400 coconuts between them. The bottle tree is 6 meters high and is made from 720 bottles.

O Tannebaum! You’re Green not only in the summertime

Anantara - coconut Christmas tree 2

Anantara - recycled bottle Christmas tree

One and Only Reethi Rah coconut Christmas tree

Best of the Maldives: Recycling – Kurumba

Kurumba recycling 2
Lori and Jason Kruse, Kurumba GM, with ground glass

With my emphasis on discovery it took some big stuff to lure back to Kurumba for the third time when there were so many unseen resorts to hit. But I must say that the detour was worth it with quite possibly the most inspiring “Best of the Maldives” discovery of the entire trip.

To date, most resort eco-initiatives have fallen into the following categories…

But as anyone who has ridden by Thilafushi will attest, the sheer volume of waste and rubbish is a massive challenge for the country. Most resorts are looking at packaging and waste reduction initiatives. But Kurumba is leading the way with a strikingly comprehensive recycling programme.

And investments they are. First, Kurumba has shelled out some serious capital to get some advanced machinery to process the waste. But more so than that, Kurumba is experimenting with these gadgets and tuning them and the processes around them to get the most out of them.

  • Bottles – Ground down and used in cement
  • Coconut Husks – Ground down into “choir” which is used to make ropes and a range of building materials. Also, using coconut husks to fuel their BBQs. They found out that the husks burn hotter than the charcoal used previously so they have had to adjust their cooking.
  • Green Waste – Shedder composter which mixes heat+air+bacteria for accelerated decomposition. Material basically broken down in 3 hours and then let sit for 40 days (it was supposed to be 10 days, but experimentation has shown 40 to be ideal for the best soil creation). Going through 1700 kgs of kitchen waste per day.
  • Styrofoam – Shedder to make filler for things like beanbags. Not working properly, but still experimenting to get it right.

Kurumba is sharing its expertise with other resorts now and hopes to pioneer a drive to zero waste in the Maldives. If successful, Thilafushi could itself be relegated to the dustbin of history.

 

Kurumba plastic recycling

Plastic and Styrofoam recycling

 

Kurumba recycling

Green waste mulching

 

Kurumba recycling 5

Green waste accelerated composting

 

Kurumba coconut recycling

Shredded coconut husks