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Highlighting its environmental efforts on Earth Day, Carnival Cruise Line said it is the first major cruise line to employ bio-digesters across its entire operation, with the intention of lawfully discharging only processed food waste.
Carnival installed more than 200 bio-digesters so 22 Carnival ships now have them and Carnival Splendor will be the 23rd and final ship to get one after its restart on May 2.
A bio-digester is an enclosed container converting food waste into liquid at an accelerated rate - breaking down 99 percent of the food put into it, with only a fine, silt-like material remaining. By using beneficial microorganisms, plus oxygen and warm water, digesters can process anything that can be consumed by a human.
"Earth Day is a great opportunity to recognize our efforts toward a more sustainable future and making the process of discarding food waste significantly more environmentally friendly is a big step in that mission." said Richard Pruitt, vice president of environmental operations at Carnival Cruise Line.
BioHiTech America, a Renovare Environmental Company, supplied many of the digesters for the Carnival fleet. On Mardi Gras alone, 14 digesters can process about 142,000 pounds of food waste each week. Renovare Environmental estimates as much as 94 million pounds will be digested across the entire Carnival fleet by the end of the year.
Without bio-digesters, millions of pounds of unprocessed food waste would otherwise be lawfully discharged into the ocean as allowed by maritime law. Current maritime regulations do not require food waste to be processed and only prohibit discharge at sea within 12 nautical miles from land, making Carnival's new practice of utilizing bio-digesters ahead of the industry standard.
Environmental sustainability is an ongoing mission at Carnival. Parent company Carnival Corp. is using liquefied natural gas (LNG) to help reduce emissions. Last year, Mardi Gras was the first LNG-powered cruise ship in North America; it will be joined by two LNG more ships - Carnival Celebration this fall and Carnival Jubilee in 2023.
Also, in fall 2023, Carnival's transformed Terminal F, which opens later this year, will be one of the first at PortMiami equipped to provide shore power. Along with the LNG, food waste and shore power initiatives, Carnival is also continuing its aggressive program to reduce single-use plastics across its corporate headquarters and on board its fleet.
Theresa Norton, editor in chief of AGENTatHOME Magazine, covers the cruise industry for TravelPulse.com.
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