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Phuket Business: There’s cash in that trash



PHUKET: Sustainability is perhaps the most overused buzz word at present. Increasingly over the past several years, stake holders in the tourism and hospitality sectors have added momentum to the dialogue about saving the environment through the implementation of ‘green practices’.

When it comes down to actually taking action and making all of the necessary investments, however, few have delivered.

Beyond changing a few light bulbs and installing energy saving switch timers, there is still so much more that can be done if not for the sake of reducing overheads and thus increasing profitability, then certainly for embracing the true essence of sustainability.

During a recent interview with the Phuket Gazette, Martin Hauke, a composting specialist based in Phuket, said that waste management is one of the most overlooked factors in the effort to achieve environmental sustainability. Overlooked not only by local residents and government officials, but by business operators too.

“It just baffles me when I see people burning a pile of leaves in their yard. This material can be separated and composted or just used as a mulch around shrubs and trees, and has so many more benefits. Instead, it is wasted, much to the dismay of the environment.”

Martin, a German national, is the inventor of the Mobile Aerated Floor, or MAF, an innovative and efficient composting system that has been utilized in a number of commercial scale projects across the globe.

“When compared to conventional composting, the MAF System is up to 30 % more efficient in terms of speed and requires only a third of the area and much less energy. And of course, the setup does not have to be fixed to one space,” he says.

Having fallen in love with Phuket over the last decade, Martin decided to establish his German company’s assembly base in Thalang.

“Currently, we only export our system’s components to overseas clients. These include mostly large scale, commercial projects in Germany, the United Kingdom and Australia, among others.”

Although, business volume and demand is sufficient on the global market, Martin says he is keen to penetrate the local market in the near future.

“We are currently designing prototypes for small and medium scale projects on and off Phuket. One of our main targets will be hotels and resorts, and especially properties that are remote and off the grid.

“The fact is that it is still cheaper up front for businesses [on the grid] to throw away or burn their waste, whereas it is difficult for them to quantify the returns from recycling and composting.

“These returns aren’t always immediate, and one of our biggest challenges is to inform and demonstrate to individuals and businesses, that there are more practical and responsible solutions to waste management.”

Martin said that, in addition to residents and businesses, he is also pursuing a dialogue with the local government.

“We are looking to support initiatives that improve Phuket’s sustainability as a whole. One burning issue that affects everyone is in regards to the two incinerators. As I understand it, they are now operating close to capacity…

“With our waste management background, knowledge and resources, we have the ability and will to help improve the situation by advising on the separation, collection, transportation and processing of organics, for starters…

Something has to be done so (that) we can preserve this beautiful island for the next generation.”

For inquiries, Martin can be contacted by email at:

— Steven Layne


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