Innovations in single-use plastic alternatives

Soneva Water

280,000 single-use plastic (SUP) bottles are produced daily in the Maldives, with many discarded bottles ending up washed up on coasts, reefs and in marine eco-systems. Soneva Water provides an affordable alternative to SUP water bottles: desalinated, purified, and mineralized drinking water in reusable bottles at competitive prices.

In 2021, we sold over 70,000 litres of water, preventing a corresponding number of SUP bottles from entering the waste stream. Our community-run water bottling plants are located in Namoona islands Maalhos in Baa Atoll and Kudafari in Noonu Atoll. Both plants deliver water in reusable glass bottles to cafes, guesthouses and households.

Alun Balun

The Alun Balun resale market is an initiative of the Women’s Development Committees (WDC) of seven Namoona islands in Baa Atoll and six Namoona islands in Noonu Atoll . The market helps create a culture of reusing good quality used items, particularly clothes, rather than throwing them away. This reduces the volume of waste sent to landfill at the same time as generating an income for the WDCs.

The Alun Balun market collects second hand clothes and goods from each of the participating islands and distributes them to the other participating islands, overcoming the challenge of reselling items within small island communities and inspiring us to think twice before throwing an item away.

Add copy from Noonu Atoll

Water filters (IMM)

To encourage the adoption of newly piped tap water, and to discourage buying single use plastic bottled water, Soneva Namoona partnered with the local school on Eydhafushi to introduce the community to the benefits of water filters.

School students from the Baa Atoll Education Centre ran and promoted the trial, with many community members showing up to try out the water filters in the trial and taste the quality of water provided by each before making the financial commitment of a purchase.

[NB Is there more information about whether Eydhafushi already has tapped water, whether people are using it, and what difference the water filters have made to the volume of SUP bottles of water sold on the island?]

Reusable nappies

Typically, a baby gets through up to 6,000 disposable nappies by the time they are potty trained.  In 2021 alone, an estimated 84,000 nappies were removed from the waste management centres of just five Namoona islands, making nappies the second largest source of plastic waste in the Maldives.

In 2021, we ran a reusable nappy trial with the community of Kihaadhoo to allow parents to try out washable cloth nappies before making a financial investment. The trial was a great success, with 3 out of 4 Kihaadhoo families with babies in favour of switching to reusable nappies. Soneva Namoona can play a key role in encouraging behaviour change and sourcing alternative products.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing this perfectly, we need millions doing it imperfectly”

Reusable Menstrual Products

To raise awareness about sustainable menstrual products and provide reusable menstrual products to women and girls across Namoona islands in Baa and Noonu Atolls, Soneva Namoona has partnered with UNFPA Maldives and Zero Waste Maldives to donate and distribute reusable pads and menstrual cups. Soneva Namoona and Zero Waste Maldives will train Namoona Champions within the island communities to disseminate information and become suppliers of these products within the atoll.

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