The technology involves a natural aerobic digestion process with microorganisms that efficiently break down food waste. The systems are able to process anything that can be consumed by a human.
The biodigesters, which work 24 hours a day, are strategically placed in key areas of the ship where food waste is generated, making it easier and more efficient for crew members to manage and control. Additionally, the machines capture non-food items that may be mixed in with food waste, ensuring that plastic isn't accidentally discharged.
Piloted in 2019
Since first piloting the technology in 2019, Carnival Corp. and its nine brands have continued to expand the use of these systems. Most recently, Carnival Cruise Line announced it is the first major operator to employ biodigesters across its entire fleet with all 23 ships returned to passenger operations this month.
The fleetwide biodigester installation supports Carnival Corp.'s food waste management objectives, as part of its 2030 sustainability goals.
Reduce unit food waste 30% by 2022, 50% by 2030
The company committed to achieve a 30% reduction in unit food waste by 2022 and a 50% reduction by 2030. These new goals build on the company's latest achievement of reducing food waste per person by over 20% at the end of 2021, which doubled its original commitment as part of a pollution case settlement of reaching a 10% reduction in food waste by the end of last year, relative to a 2019 baseline.
'We have made great strides in our circular economy focus area and the rollout of nearly 600 biodigesters represents another important milestone for our ongoing efforts to further minimize our impact on the oceans we sail and the communities we visit while supporting overall food waste management efforts and environmental compliance on board our ships,' said Bill Burke, chief maritime officer, Carnival Corp. & plc.
Plastics, advanced wastewater treatment
In addition to food waste management objectives, the circular economy focus area includes an ongoing commitment to significantly reduce nonessential single-use plastic items, along with long-term 2030 sustainability goals and 2050 aspirations detailed in Carnival's latest sustainability report.
Objectives include increasing fleetwide coverage of advanced wastewater treatment systems to over 75% by 2030 and sending a larger percentage of waste to waste-to-energy facilities where practical by 2030 and aspiring to send 100% by 2050.
The company will also partner with primary vendors to reduce upstream packaging volumes and aspires to partner with primary vendors to ensure near 100% reuse of packaging materials by 2050.
Path to zero emission cruising
Carnival and its brands have committed to reducing carbon emission intensity by 40% by 2030 and aspire to achieve net carbon-neutral ship operations, supporting efforts to establish a path to zero emission cruising — with no discharge to the ocean or air — by 2050.