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Carnival Cruise Line close to employing food biodigesters fleetwide

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A biodigester aboard Carnival Panorama
As Carnival Cruise Line nears the return of its full fleet, it becomes the first major cruise line to employ biodigesters across its entire operation, with the intention of lawfully discharging only processed food waste.

Carnival installed more than 200 biodigesters so every ship sailing is fully equipped for galley crew to use them. Currently, 22 of the line's ships are carrying passengers and Carnival Splendor’s restart on May 2 will complete the full 23-ship fleet’s return.

A biodigester is an enclosed container that converts food waste into liquid at an accelerated rate by breaking down 99% of the food put into it, with only a fine, silt-like material remaining. Using beneficial microorganisms, plus oxygen and warm water, digesters can process anything that can be consumed by a human.

Catching plastics

The process also makes it possible to catch small pieces of plastics and other debris that sometimes find their way into food waste to ensure none of that is discharged.

'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 Rich Pruitt, VP environmental operations at Carnival.

Mardi Gras biodigesters process 142,000 pounds of food waste weekly

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 94m pounds will be digested across the entire Carnival fleet by the end of the year.

'We are proud to have teamed with Carnival Cruise Line on a successful path towards food waste reduction, efficient and safe disposal methods and the associated beneficial environmental outcome,' said Emily Dyson, VP science, research and development for Renovare Environmental.

Without biodigesters, 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 use of biodigesters ahead of the industry standard.

At Seatrade Cruise Global

Pruitt will be speaking at Seatrade Cruise Global in the session 'Plastics, Other Solid Wastes and Composting: Challenges and Solutions' at 2 p.m. April 27. The full conference program is here

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