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MSC Cruises launches global commitment to eliminate single-use plastics

MSC Cruises announced a commitment to eliminate single-use plastics from its entire fleet globally and introduce sustainable alternatives if available. By the end of this year all plastic straws will be replaced with 100% compostable and biodegradable substitutes.  

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.

In addition, under its Plastics Reduction Programme, by the end of March 2019, MSC Cruises will phase out an extensive number of plastic items from all its ship operations and ashore, and will replace them with environmentally-friendly solutions.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, said: ‘At MSC Cruises we are on an ongoing journey to reduce the environmental impact of our ships in operation. The imminent elimination of single-use plastic items from across our entire fleet globally is an additional step that we are taking in that direction.’

Conserving and protecting the seas and ocean

He added, ‘more importantly, under our global environmental stewardship programme, it represents yet another step in our overall commitment to conserve and protect our planet’s most precious resource: the seas and the oceans.’

MSC Cruises has been taking voluntary steps to uphold this commitment under its global environmental stewardship programme through a series of previous actions, for recycling facilities and efficient waste management systems.

Dedicated fleet-wide environmental officers

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.

An empowered team of dedicated environmental officers across the fleet makes sure the company’s policies and vision are effectively implemented.

Deadline March 2019

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.

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 is an ongoing journey noted MSC Cruises adding when technology doesn’t yet allow for sustainable non-plastic substitution, we want to ensure all disposable plastic waste items are recycled correctly.

Engaging a global certification company to cover recycling activities

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.

Vago concluded: ‘At MSC Cruises we are now exploring working with a leading global certification company to assure any remaining plastic items, for which there currently are no viable substitutes yet, are effectively recycled. This will ensure end-to-end – no matter where our ships are deployed – that these remaining items from across all our ship operations not only do not have an impact on the sea, but also on land for the benefit of the populations that we touch with our operations globally.’

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