Sustainable Cruise Project Launched

Travel News Asia Latest Travel News Podcasts Videos Monday, 6 August 2012

A project has been launched to provide stimulus for the implementation of the EU Directive on waste on board ships and to create incentives for waste reduction, recycling collection, and reuse.

The Sustainable Cruise project is co-funded by the European Commission by means of the LIFE+ Programme, the EUs funding instrument for innovative or demonstration environmental projects.

The Project Manager is Costa Cruises, one of the largest Italian travel groups, which devised the proposal and presented it to the EU together with Ce.Si.S.P. (Centro interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo della Sostenibilit dei Prodotti or Academic Research Center for Sustainable Product Development) and the Italian enterprises VOMM, Contento Trade, Design Innovation, RINA Services and Medcruise, the Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports.

The Costa Pacifica (114,500 gross tonnage and 3,780 total passengers), which was built in the Genoa/Sestri Ponente shipyard and entered service at the end of May 2009, was chosen to pilot the shipboard experimental project involving the use of innovative techniques and methods for several types of waste packaging, biodegradable (organic) waste and paper with very specific objectives regarding reduction at the source and recycling.

The scope of the project goes beyond shipboard application and also includes coordination with European port waste disposal facilities so as to increase opportunities for recycling and reuse, with a specific brief to promote a Euro-Mediterranean network of ports fostering cooperation in the field of waste management. This is where Medcruise is particularly involved.

Sustainable Cruise also aims to set up a new voluntary certification scheme for shipboard waste treatment and its effects in terms of CO2 reduction possibly paving the way for the introduction of specific EU environmental legislation for shipping.

We are very proud to be managing this highly innovative project on board the Costa Pacifica, which will be the pilot ship for new models of management of certain types of solid waste, said Costa Cruises Vice President Quality Standards Compliance & Auditing Ernesto Gori. The fact that we are the first cruise company in the world to carry out such a landmark experiment, which will lead to even higher standards in the treatment of shipboard waste, is further tangible evidence of our environmental excellence.

The Sustainable Cruise project dovetails with Costa Cruises own waste management policy, which has been applied fleet-wide for some time now; Costa has a policy of 100% separation of solid waste on board, with separate storage and disposal of the following 7 streams: glass, plastic, metal, food, paper, ceramics, aluminum.

With regard to the details of the Sustainable Cruise on the Costa Pacifica, the project includes intervention in the area of packaging cardboard boxes, glass bottles, and plastic bottles and containers so as to reduce this type of waste at the origin, with the involvement of product suppliers.

Another area of the project concerns wet waste, i.e. food and other organic waste, which on a ship like the Costa Pacifica carrying up to almost 5,000 passengers and crew accounts for a sizeable 22% of total waste. In compliance with international MARPOL laws protecting the marine environment, at present food waste is collected and processed by special equipment (shredders, crushers, compactors) to reduce the volume before it is discharged overboard as fish food. Thanks to the state-of-the-art technology used by the Sustainable Cruise project, the pulp produced from food waste will now be processed and turned into a useful by-product (e.g. compost).

The third category involved in the project, namely paper, accounts for about 16% of the total waste generated by a ship like the Costa Pacifica. Sustainable Cruise has already analyzed the waste flow (supply, storage, use and disposal) of paper on board the vessel. Work is now focusing on devising processes that can be applied so as to reduce paper at the source, reuse it or dispose of the waste sustainably.

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