Msc To Eliminate Single-use Plastic From Its Cruises

Cruise ship in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Image: Dziewul Shutterstock

MSC announces an ambitious program to reduce its plastics in the seas and travel a little more respectful of the environment. Although they still have a long way to go, plastic is only the tip of the iceberg of one of the most polluting vacation models, with a great impact on the total CO2 production of the tourism sector.

No more plastic bags, spoons, glasses, plates, coffee spoons or straws. MSC Cruises has announced that it will eliminate them completely by the end of 2019, replacing them with ecological alternatives, at the same time reorganizing the kitchens on board to eliminate even the plastic from individual portions, (for example those of jams or yogurt).

If the largest private cruise company, a leader in Europe, South America, South Africa and the Persian Gulf, takes such a course, it means that something is finally changing for the better for the world’s seas. A first step that should not be the only one. The fuel with which the cruise ships move, the energy consumed on board or the treatment of their wastewater should be the next steps in a tourism model with many black spots.

85% of the pollution of the oceans and beaches is due to plastic: it is estimated that there are 260 thousand tons. Of these, one part is visible to the eyes and then there is another very small but potentially much more harmful: microplastics (with a diameter of 5 mm). They are more dangerous because they can absorb a greater amount of toxic pollutants, and due to their small size they can be ingested by fish and by ourselves.

According to a Greenpeace report, at least 170 marine organisms absorb them, including species that are often on our tables such as swordfish, tuna or mussels. Microplastics reach our seas through microspheres used in cosmetics by large industries, and the residues from the degradation of larger plastic objects.

After small gestures from many restaurants and bars in the world that have completely eliminated them, examples of supermarket chains such as Coop that have reduced the use of plastic in their private label products, joining the campaign of the European Commission (to waiting for a directive banning it completely), the MSC announcement is a new sign that can make a difference.

Costa Maya, Mexico. Image: Nazar Skladanyi Shutterstock

The initiative is part of MSC’s Plastics Reduction Program and begins immediately: for example, at the end of 2018, all plastic straws will be replaced by 100% compostable and biodegradable alternatives, which will be supplied at the customer’s request, as drinks will not be served by default with the straw, and the same will be done in the offices on land and during excursions.

Pierfrancesco Vago, CEO of MSC Cruises, also announced that ” Another step forward will be to eliminate plastic from the entire supply chain, which is why we have asked all of our suppliers to be our partners on this journey .” “ We are evaluating,” said Vago, “the possibility of working together with a leading global certification company to ensure that all remaining plastic items, for which there are no alternative solutions, are recycled in a real and correct way. In this way, regardless of where our ships are used, it will be possible to guarantee that all plastic articles not only do not have an impact on the sea, but also on land, for the benefit of the populations and territories that host us . “

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