Locals Turn Waste Into Money

(Last Updated On: February 9, 2019)


Thanks to the great work of Koh Lanta Community Compost Station, locals on Koh Lanta can turn waste into money, as well as save the environment.  The project teaches people how to compost organic waste and make fertilizer they can sell.

Koh Lanta Community Compost was set up in 2016 by the owner of Costa Lanta resort on Kaw Kwang beach, to tackle the problem of food waste ending up in landfill.  To encourage more locals and businesses to consistently compost, she realised she could promote the fact that the end product – the fertilizer – could be sold.

The compost station aims to reduce the open air garbage dump on Koh Lanta, reduce garbage burning, make Koh Lanta greener, produce healthier soil and generate additional income for the community.

The project’s team has been doing a fantastic job teaching locals how to compost, and is making a real difference on Koh Lanta.  They have held several workshops at resorts and schools on Koh Lanta, in both Thai and English.  More and more people are now going green by not putting their food waste in the trash or burning their garden waste.


Composting workshop koh lanta thailand
Composting workshop on Koh Lanta


Keeping Koh Lanta Clean and Smelling Nice

Throwing out food waste not only leads to garbage being left smelling bad at the side of the road, but also creates methane once it decomposes at the rubbish dump.

Methane is a greenhouse gas and is actually a lot more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere and leading to global warming.

Putting food waste in the bin also makes the staff’s jobs at the new recycling station on Koh Lanta a lot harder and more unpleasant, as they have to sift through stinking, rotting food to pick out the plastic, glass, tin etc. that they can recycle.  The food waste then gets dumped in the landfill.

So, the more people on Koh Lanta who start composting, the cleaner and more pleasant smelling Koh Lanta will be.


Koh Lanta Rubbish Dump
Koh Lanta’s rubbish dump


Speeding Up Nature’s Process

Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic matter into a rich soil, or compost.

Anything that was once living will decompose, and backyard composting basically speeds up the process nature uses.  By composting your organic waste, you’re returning nutrients back to the soil so the cycle of life can continue.

There are various methods you can use to compost, such as backyard composting, which is great if you have a yard or garden and can use a mixture of browns (fallen leaves or straw) and greens (grass clippings and food scraps); worm composting, which is best for those living in apartments or with a very small backyard; and ‘grasscycling’, where you can leave your grass cuttings on the lawn to decompose.


Composting at Moonlight Bay Resort
Composting at Moonlight Bay Resort


Koh Lanta’s Community Composting method uses layers of leaves and manure to produce a rich compost full of nutrients, that people can sell or use as fertilizer in their gardens.

Check out the step-by-step guide later on to find out how to use this method.


Sometimes You Just Need a Little Motivation

To motivate staff at Costa Lanta resort to see the benefits of composting and do it without management standing over them, the owner (Nee) came up with the idea of a ‘Buy Back Program’.

Costa Lanta provides everything needed to start composting, and when the compost is ready they buy the finished product.  They provide the space for the compost bins, added a tap and hose near the composting area for a convenient water source, order manure, give staff time to tend to the compost bins (which is actually the time that would have been spent getting rid of the waste by taking it to the dump or to a garbage disposal area).  In return, the staff look after the compost bins, making sure a successful compost is produced and, when it’s ready, they dry it, bag it and clean up the area ready for the next batch.


Costa Lanta Resort


It’s a positive outcome all round – for the staff who earn some extra income, for Costa Lanta which gets nutrient rich compost for its gardens (including a vegetable garden), and for the environment, as the organic waste isn’t burned or sent to the dump.

Guests also love the idea, and are able to see the compost bins which are openly displayed.  It’s great for them to see that the resort they have chosen to stay at on Koh Lanta is doing something positive for the environment.


Koh Lanta Children Leading the Way

Koh Lanta children are also being taught how to compost and why it’s important.

Three schools have recently taken part in composting workshops – Khlong Nin School,  Sanuk Skolan (one of the two Swedish schools on the island), and Global Village School (Koh Lanta’s international school).  It’s so great to see local kids being made aware of the importance of composting, and actually getting stuck in and taking part in it.


turn waste into money - Global Village School Kids Learn Composting
Kids from Global Village School learn composting


Koh Lanta Resorts & Restaurants Going Green

Several resorts and restaurants on Koh Lanta have also taken part in workshops and started composting.

A lot of resorts on Koh Lanta have big gardens, so they can put their garden waste (grass cuttings, fallen leaves etc.), as well as their food waste, to good use.

Resorts and restaurants from Saladan right down to Kantiang Bay and across to Old Town have attended workshops and started composting.

These are some of the places that have taken part in composting workshops and are now composting their food waste:


the frog restaurant koh lanta thailand
The Frog restaurant, Saladan


Coco Cape resort koh lanta thailand
Coco Cape resort, Kaw Kwang


southern lanta resort khlong dao koh lanta
Southern Lanta resort, Khlong Dao


start bistro koh lanta
Start Bistro, Khlong Dao


holiay villa resort koh lanta thailan
Holiday Villa resort, Khlong Dao


the tavern restaurant koh lanta
The Tavern restaurant, Long Beach


faim du loup french bakery koh lanta
Faim de Loup French Bakery, Phra Ae


moonlight bay resort koh lanta thailand
Moonlight Exotic Bay resort, Khlong Tob


coral beach resort koh lanta thailand
Coral Beach resort, Khlong Nin


baan lanta resort and spa
Baan Lanta Resort & Spa, Kantiang Bay


panorama restaurant old town koh lanta
Panorama restaurant, Old Town


There were even some people from Koh Jum Beach Villas who came over from Koh Jum to attend a workshop, which is amazing.  Word has got out and even people from outside Koh Lanta want to attend the workshops!


koh jum beach villas thailand
Koh Jum Beach Villas


If we’ve left any places off the list,  please comment below or email us to let us know.

A lot has been achieved in a year, and Koh Lanta is growing greener by the day, plus the plants and vegetables are growing stronger.


Composting is Rewarding for Your Stomach and Your Wallet

Composting is easy and rewarding.  You can create something from waste produce and use it to grow fruit and vegetables which you can eat.

It can also be financially rewarding for those who turn waste into money by selling the fertilizer they have made.  It requires very little work and resources and, most importantly, it has an enormously positive impact on the environment.

It’s fantastic to see schools, resorts and restaurants on Koh Lanta composting their food waste and making Koh Lanta cleaner and greener.


Composting workshop Koh Lanta Thailand
Composting workshop, Koh Lanta, Thailand


Composting is often the last form of recycling people think of but possibly one of the most important and satisfying to do.  It’s much more hands on and rewarding than sorting your plastic bottles to be taken away and recycled somewhere.  You actually create something yourself from your waste which you can use in your garden to grow plants.

Check out Koh Lanta Community Compost Station’s step-by-step guide to composting:


Koh Lanta Community Composting - How To Compost 01.1
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
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Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
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Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
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Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
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Koh Lanta Community Composting
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Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
Koh Lanta Community Composting
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Follow their Facebook page for more info and to find out when their next workshops will take place.

Koh Lanta also has a composting pick up service for businesses and individuals.  Find out more about this fantastic new project helping to keep Lanta clean & protect the environment.



You might also like:

Eco Projects on Koh Lanta



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Locals Turn Waste Into Money on Koh Lanta


6 Replies to “Locals Turn Waste Into Money”

  1. What a wonderful initiative to have the Koh Lanta community do! I think composting is VERY important for everywhere around the world and it is great to see that it is being encouraged even in every small place possible.

    I actually went to google maps to learn where Koh Lanta was (Thailand) – and from what I see, it’s a little piece of paradise, and its wonderful that its citizen are learning to appreciate this by giving back to Mother Earth, bit by bit…every little bit counts!
    Well done!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Orion.  It is a great initiative and hopefully we can get the size of that rubbish dump down, plus grow lots of big, healthy vegetables!  Koh Lanta really is a paradise.  You should come visit one day 🙂

  2. It is great to see all community come together and make an effort to clean their Island. I am also guilty of just throw things into garbage not thinking about what would do to the environment. This article gives me some inspiration to take more serious about the environment and how to keep our land and air clean! Please keep us posted and give us more inspiration on how they do. Thank you so much!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Kyoko. That’s great you’re feeling inspired to compost now. Go for it! It’s really rewarding and has so many positive environmental benefits. We hope more and more places on Koh Lanta will start doing it too. Enjoy your day 🙂

  3. It’s great to see environmental awareness taking place in touristy places like Koh Lanta that are often bombarded with trash. I am pretty sure that big cities also have the same problems, but I can’t say for sure if the city councils are putting in enough effort.

    Recycling waste is important to keep our beaches cleans, safeguard marine creatures and maintain the ecosystem around that area. If we want our future generations to enjoy beautiful beaches, the work has to start now.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Cathy.  Yes, it’s really depressing to see the amount of trash washing up onto the beaches, as well as how much is generated on the island by tourism.  It’s really hard for a small, fairly undeveloped island to cope with it but we hope that by creating awareness, we can start to tackle the problem and preserve the beauty of Koh Lanta.  Something also needs to be done on a national and global level about the amount of plastic waste humans are generating, but we can also act on an individual level.  We can’t just sit around waiting for someone else to deal with the problem.  We all have to play a part and take responsibility. 

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