SINGAPORE, 14 February 2022: Fairmont Maldives Sirru Fen
Fushi is is launching a new pioneering project – the Sustainability Lab to play
a role in reducing plastics from the ocean.

A private island in the remote Shaviyani atoll, Fairmont
Maldives Sirru Fen Fushi has unveiled the latest in a series of pioneering
environmental projects – the Sustainability Lab – the first of its kind in the
archipelago. A hub of eco-education, the Sustainability Lab will turn plastic
waste into bespoke souvenirs and unique products, educate guests and empower
local communities.

Experts claim that by 2050, there will be more plastic in
the ocean than fish. In a bid to fully recycle all the plastic waste generated
by the resort and surrounding communities, the Sustainability Lab will turn
waste from the ocean into souvenirs and educate guests and empower local
communities to care for the delicate underwater environment.

Fairmont Maldives’ mission is to fully recycle all plastic
waste generated by the resort and from local communities and ultimately remove
ocean plastic from the Maldivian environment.

Specialised machinery will transform and repurpose plastic
waste into bespoke souvenirs for guests and useful products, such as furniture,
for local communities.

The Sustainability Lab will eventually become a recycling
centre for the atoll and beyond.

As tourism continues to grow and develop in the Maldives, so
too does concern regarding single-use plastics and its impact on the pristine
ecosystems.

Fairmont Maldives’ mission?

To fully recycle all the plastic waste generated by the
resort and surrounding local communities, and ultimately, remove ocean plastic
from the Maldivian environment. With the launch, the resort aspires to be as
close to zero waste as they can use current and future technology improvements
in order to find better ways to reduce, reuse, recycle and upcycle waste whilst
inspiring others globally to help secure a better future for the surrounding
oceans and communities.  

Turning Waste into Wonder

Specialised machinery in the Sustainability Lab will transform and repurpose plastic waste into beautiful bespoke souvenirs, including luggage tags in the shape of turtles, mantas and sharks. After the plastic has been collected from the beach, reef, and ocean, they are separated alongside glass and aluminium before a series of machines are used to shred, melt, shape and press it into various products – an extruder melts the plastic into moulds to create unique shapes, a sheet press will make custom-designed furniture and low-grade plastic, glass and sand will be transformed into recycled plastic building bricks. The resort has already processed over 725 kg of plastic in the lab to date, turning the waste into exquisite and unique furniture, useful stationery for local schools including rulers, clipboards, and carabiner hooks, in addition to turtle-shaped luggage tags for guests.

Community Upliftment

Community upliftment is part of Fairmont’s DNA, and the
Sustainability Lab will eventually become a recycling centre in the atoll and
beyond, creating a culture of sustainability and accountability in local
communities. Surrounding islands will be encouraged to collect, sort, and
recycle their plastic waste by sending it to Fairmont Maldives rather than
leaving it to a landfill or discarding it in the ocean.

What’s more, the resort has partnered with seven local
schools in Shaviyani Atoll for the Fairmont Award Scheme, whereby the
sustainability team will visit the schools to teach classes and host workshops
on recycling, marine biodiversity, climate change and ocean conservation. Local
children are also invited to visit the resort to witness the Sustainability Lab
in action in addition to the island’s other conservation projects, encouraging
the next generation to care passionately about protecting their natural
ecosystem.

Educating the Next Generation of Eco-Conscious Travellers

The Sustainability Lab will become the centre of Fairmont
Maldives’ wider sustainability initiatives, offering a variety of educational
programmes and activities to provide guests with first-hand experience in
conservation research. Guests can join the sustainability team to collect
plastic waste before learning how to use the machines and make their own
products, learning the importance of segregating and recycling plastic and how
it can be commoditised to make beautiful bespoke gifts and souvenirs.

Pioneering Programmes

One of the biggest problems facing sea turtles in the world
today is the large quantity of plastic polluting the oceans. To emphasise the
importance of tackling this issue, Fairmont Maldives has launched their Turtle
Ranger Program, whereby guests can learn about the various conservation methods
and techniques to better protect this endangered species and help our marine
biology department collect Photo ID tracking data, which the resort collects on
behalf of the Olive Ridley Project, a Maldives-based NGO focused on turtle
research. Guests can join the Marine Biologist to protect turtle nests, assist
hatchlings in their journey from nest to ocean, rescue turtles entangled in
ghost nets, and collect vital tracking data to monitor migration patterns.

As part of the programme, the resort now tracks over 50
resident Hawksbill turtles, and in 2021, they released over 1,200 baby green
turtles born on the east coast of the resort. The Turtle Rangers also carry out
workshops in the Sustainability Lab, converting plastic removed during beach
cleaning into turtle-shaped products using innovative recycling machines.
These
initiatives are part of Fairmont Maldives’ Save the Ocean programme, which is
split into three key projects; reef conservation and protection, the
Sustainability Lab, and an educational awareness campaign targeted towards both
guests and the local community. Each project focuses on different aspects of a
sustainable way of saving the ocean and protecting marine biodiversity in the
Maldives.