Soneva Fushi recycles 81% of solid waste

Soneva recycling

Through extensive recycling efforts Soneva Fushi is able to recycle over 81% of its solid waste. How does the luxury resort in the middle of the Indian Ocean do this in a country with almost no municipal waste facilities?

We spoke to Arnfinn Oines, Social and Environmental Conscience at Soneva Resorts, Residences and Spas, to find out...


Soneva Fushi developed a state of the art waste management facility, Eco Centro, at the property with the recycling mantra Waste-to-Wealth. For the team working at Eco Centro, waste is seen as a resource. They create value from what others regard as waste.

The key to their achievement is taking care of organic waste. Typically 50% of waste for hotels is organic. For Soneva Fushi the figure is even higher as the resort has one of the largest forests in the Maldives, leaving a sizeable amount of garden waste.

The team has set up a forced aeration composting system that handles all food waste and elements of the garden waste. By adding air to the composting piles they are able to speed up the composting process and produce rich nutrient soil.

Herb & Vegetable Garden
With the nutrient compost, Soneva Fushi has been able to develop an extensive network of Herb & Vegetable Gardens - 3,000 m2on what otherwise is sandy and salty soil not suitable for growing crops - supplying the kitchen with 9,000 kg of fresh produce per year. It is built on permaculture and organic principles.

100% of herb requirements and about 30% of salads are supplied from the garden, reducing carbon emissions from imports. For the chef it is great to be able to work with fresh ingredients and one regular guest comment is how good the rocket salad tastes. This is of course attributed to the fact that it comes straight from the garden and has not been transported for several days before it gets to the guest plate.

One of its restaurants – Fresh in the Garden - is even built over one of the Herb & Vegetable Gardens.


  • Soneva Fushi has also built two Adams Retort biochar ovens, which are used to convert woody waste to charcoal for barbeques and the pizza oven, and biochar to fertilize the soil.
  • Glass is crushed and used as a replacement for sand in concrete making. A hotwire cutter enables the team to cut up Styrofoam boxes that are reused for insulation.
  • Metal is collected and sent off the island for recycling.
  • In an effort to support its neighbouring islands, in 2013 Soneva Fushi received over 4.5 tonnes of plastic bottles and metal cans which it compacted for recycling.

Eliminating waste
Proper waste handling is more than dealing with the waste generated. It is also about reducing it in the first place. Soneva Fushi has taken several measures to do so.

  • In 2008 the resort banned imported water and produced it own drinking water using reusable glass bottles. This practice has prevented the production of an estimated 550,000 plastic bottles.
  • Soneva Fushi’s room amenities such as soap, shampoo and body lotion are offered in ceramic reusable containers, instead of disposable packaging.

All these efforts have enabled Soneva Fushi to reduce total waste on the island and to see an increase in the amount of waste recycled from 27% in 2008 to 81% today.

For more information go to Soneva Slow Life. If you want to find out more about how to reduce food waste in your hotel join ITP on their Food Waste webinar later this month. To share best practice and get some great tips join our Twitter Chat on waste in hotels 2pm BST 25th September #ghdeabtes.

Leave a Reply