Recycling for small island tourism developments: Food waste composting at Sandals Emerald Bay, Exuma, Bahamas

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34 Scopus citations


The ability for small islands to meet sustainability goals is exacerbated by the costs of transporting goods on, and then, wastes off the islands. At small scales, recycling can be prohibitive and complicated by labor costs; the need to profitably recycle and manage solid waste output from tourism is complicated by scale and available technologies. A multi-year study documents the amount of solid waste generated on Great Exuma (Exuma), The Commonwealth of The Bahamas since 2010 with one year of benchmarking, then limited recycling of food waste generation by an all-inclusive resort, Sandals Emerald Bay (SEB). For the island of Exuma, the rapid increase in the rate of accumulation of solid waste associated with a large destination resort has led to an increase in pests such as rats and flies, along with an increased occurrence of fires associated with unburied solid waste. Solid waste has accumulated faster than the island solid waste management can absorb. SEB kitchen and hotel operations contributes an estimated 36% of all solid waste generated on the island, about 1752 t1 out of a total of 4841 t generated on the island in 2013 (exclusive of vegetation waste). Based on 4 weeks of benchmarking, 48.5% of all the waste coming out of the SEB resort is compostable, organic waste, but waste composition varies widely over time. Exuma Waste Management (EWM) and Recycle Exuma (RE), both privately-held Bahamian businesses, worked for one year (2012-2013) with SEB resort to implement a benchmarking and pilot recycling project to meet Earth Check green resort certification requirements. This paper outlines the costs and resources required for food waste recycling and some barriers to implementing more effective solid waste management for the tourism industry on small islands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-37
Number of pages13
JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
StatePublished - Nov 2014


  • Composting
  • Food waste
  • Small islands recycling
  • Tourism waste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Economics and Econometrics


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