Costa Pacifica Launches Sustainable Waste-Management Project
Costa Cruises’ Costa Pacifica is the pilot ship to implement a sustainable cruise waste-management project, which seeks to create incentives for waste reduction, recycling and reuse. The project, called Sustainable Cruise, is co-funded by the European Commission through the LIFE+ Program, the European Union’s funding instrument for environmental projects.
“We are very proud to be managing this highly innovative project on board Costa Pacifica, which will be the pilot ship for new models of management of certain types of solid waste,” said Ernesto Gori, Costa’s vice president-quality standards compliance and auditing. “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 world’s first shipboard experimental project uses innovative techniques and methods for packaging, biodegradable waste and paper, with specific objectives for reduction at the source and recycling. The project includes intervention in packaging -- cardboard boxes, glass bottles, plastic bottles and containers -- to reduce that type of waste at the origin, with the cooperation of product suppliers.
Another project area concerns wet waste -- food and other organic waste -- which on a ship like Costa Pacifica that carries nearly 5,000 guests and crew accounts for 22 percent of total waste. In compliance with international MARPOL laws, currently food waste is collected and processed to reduce the volume before it is discharged overboard as fish food. The state-of-the-art technology used by the sustainable cruise project instead processes the “pulp” produced from food waste into compost, a useful byproduct.
The third category involves paper, which accounts for about 16 percent of total waste on Costa Pacifica. The Sustainable Cruise project 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 to reduce paper at the source, reuse it or dispose of it sustainably.
The scope of the project goes beyond shipboard application and includes coordination with European port waste disposal facilities to increase recycling and reuse. Sustainable Cruise also aims to set a new voluntary certification scheme for shipboard waste treatment, possibly paving the way for the introduction of specific EU environmental legislation for shipping.
The Sustainable Cruise project dovetails with Costa Cruises’ fleetwide waste-management policy of 100 percent separation of solid waste on board, with separate storage and disposal of glass, plastic, metal, food, paper, ceramics and aluminum.