MSC Cruises has announced another new chapter in its environmental stewardship programme, by introducing a commitment to eliminate single-use plastics from its entire fleet globally and introduce sustainable alternatives if available.
Under its Plastics Reduction Programme, MSC Cruises will effectively phase out an extensive number of plastic items from all its ship operations and ashore, and will replace them with environmentally-friendly solutions by the end of March 2019. As a first step, the Company has already taken action to replace by the end of 2018 all plastic straws with 100% compostable and biodegradable substitutes.
Throughout the years, MSC Cruises has taken voluntary steps to uphold this commitment under its global environmental stewardship programme. Through a series of previous actions, all MSC Cruises ships have been systematically readied for this programme and are equipped with state-of-the-art recycling facilities and efficient waste management systems. All crew are engaged in the Company-wide effort to separate and handle waste in accordance with regulatory MARPOL requirements and CLIA’s sound environmental principles to prevent marine pollution. Their efforts are closely monitored by a comprehensive and coherent system to manage and control all environmental aspects on board and ashore. An empowered team of dedicated Environmental Officers across the fleet makes sure the Company’s policies and vision are effectively implemented. Through a robust training programme, the Company continually strives to raise the bar in this field and achieve improved waste management and recycling practices.
In order to meet and exceed its environmental objectives, MSC Cruises is now also in the process of eliminating virtually all single-use plastics from its fleet and shore side operations. By March 2019, all single-use plastic shopping bags, spoons, glasses, stirrers, and other single-use plastic items for which substitution is available will be permanently phased out and replaced by environmentally-friendly alternatives. Packaging from single-portion items such as butter cups, jams or yoghurts will be removed and processes will be optimized to provide guest-friendly and convenient solutions.
While the Company works towards meeting this commitment, an imminent fleet-wide measure will be the removal of all single-use plastic straws. Already by the end of 2018, MSC Cruises will only provide fully biodegradable and compostable straws on board its ships and ashore. Moreover, drinks will no longer automatically be served with a straw, a measure which will see the overall consumption of straws reduce by 50%. Guests who may require a straw will still be able to choose from a variety of environmentally-friendly options. This practice also extends to the Company’s island destinations, all shore-based offices and the shore excursions MSC Cruises offers.
MSC Cruises will be working with a range of international and local suppliers in areas where the ships are deployed and will be providing eco-friendly alternatives made of 100% biodegradable resins, consisting of renewable resources including corn- or sugar-based polylactic acid, bamboo, paper or other organic materials. In addition, the Company is also actively working with suppliers at all levels in the supply chain to effectively remove single-use plastics in products and packaging wherever possible.
This forthcoming achievement is a first step in a broader Plastics Reduction Programme which aims at eliminating single-use disposable plastic – when viable substitution is available –, and reducing the use of plastics more generally. However, this is an ongoing journey and when technology doesn’t yet allow for sustainable non-plastic substitution, MSC Cruises wants to ensure all disposable plastic waste items are recycled correctly. To this end, as this programme aims to be all-encompassing, MSC Cruises will be working with a global leader in inspection, verification, testing and certification, to assure recycling activities are verified and certified by an expert organisation.