MSC Cruises will replace all plastic straws with fully compostable and biodegradable substitutes by the end of 2018 (Image: MSC Cruises)
MSC Cruises has pledged to eliminate single-use plastics from all ships in its global fleet by March 2019 and replace them with sustainable alternatives.
Building on its previous environmental stewardship initiatives, MSC Cruises has expanded its Plastics Reduction Programme to phase out virtually all single-use plastics from its fleet and shoreside operations by next March. This will include shopping bags, spoons, glasses, stirrers and other items, as well as packaging from single-portion items such as butter cups, jams or yoghurts. Where possible, items will be replaced with environmentally friendly alternatives.
To kick off its plastic reduction efforts, the cruise line will no longer automatically serve drinks with a straw and will replace all plastic straws with fully compostable and biodegradable substitutes by the end of 2018. This practice also extends to the company’s island destinations, shore-based offices and the shore excursions.
“At MSC Cruises, it is our mission to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea and we are fully committed to doing so in a sustainable way,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman. “For this reason, we are on an ongoing journey to reduce the environmental impact of our ships in operation. The imminent elimination of single-use plastic items from across our entire fleet globally is an additional step that we are taking in that direction. More importantly, under our global environmental stewardship programme, it represents yet another step in our overall commitment to conserve and protect our planet’s most precious resource: the seas and the oceans.”
MSC Cruises will also work with international and local suppliers in areas where its ships are deployed to ensure they provide eco-friendly alternatives made of 100% biodegradable resins that consist of renewable resources including corn- or sugar-based polylactic acid, bamboo, paper or other organic materials. Plus, the company is working with all of its supplier to remove single-use plastics in products and packaging wherever possible.
Where technology does not yet allow for sustainable non-plastic substitution, MSC Cruises wants to ensure all disposable plastic waste items are recycled correctly. To do that, it will use an expert organisation to verify and certify all recycling activities.
“At MSC Cruises we are now exploring working with a leading global certification company to assure any remaining plastic items, for which there currently are no viable substitutes yet, are effectively recycled,” said Vago. “This will ensure end-to-end – no matter where our ships are deployed – that these remaining items from across all our ship operations not only do not have an impact on the sea, but also on land for the benefit of the populations that we touch with our operations globally.”
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