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Costa Cruises to Reduce, Reuse Three Waste Streams in Pilot Project

Italian travel group Costa Cruises has implemented a waste reduction, recycling collection and reuse pilot program on its Costa Pacifica ship as part of  the Sustainable Cruise project.

The project, which is co-funded by the European Commission via the LIFE+ Program, aims to reduce, recycle and reuse packaging, biodegradable waste and paper and develop new models of sustainable waste management onboard ships.

The Costa Pacifica, a 114,500-gross tonnage ship that holds 3,780 guests, was chosen to pilot the world’s first ever shipboard experimental project involving the use of techniques and methods for several types of waste.

Costa Cruises already has a policy of separating 100 percent of its solid waste on board into seven streams, including glass, metal, food, paper, ceramics, plastic and aluminum.

The pilot will take the next step and work to reduce packaging waste, such as cardboard boxes, glass bottles and plastic bottles and containers, as well as food and paper waste.

Food and other organic waste accounts for 22 percent of total waste produced on ships. International MARPOL laws require ships to collect and process food waste using shredders and crushers to reduce the volume before its discharged overboard as fish food. The pilot project will take the pulp produced from food waste and further process it into a by-product, such as compost.

Paper accounts for about 16 percent of total waste generated by a ship like Costa Pacifica. The pilot project has already analyzed the supply, storage, use and disposal of paper on board the ship. Work is now focused on devising processes that will reduce paper at the source, reuse it or dispose of the waste sustainably.

Cruise ships companies, such as Royal Caribbean, as well as the US federal government and specific high-use ports have focused more on cutting energy use and reducing emissions.

The pilot project, which primarily focuses on treating waste streams on the ship, is working to coordinate with European port waste disposal facilities to increase opportunities for recycling and reuse. The Sustainable Cruise project also aims to set up a new voluntary certification scheme for shipboard waste treatment and determine its effects in terms of CO2 reduction, steps that could lead to EU environmental legislation for shipping.

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