Reduction, Recovery, Recycling. These are the famous 3Rs summarizing the objectives laid down by the European Directive on Waste, to which Costa Cruises responded by playing an active part in the Sustainable Cruise Project co-funded by the European Commission within the framework of the European LIFE+ program.
Developed between 2011 and 2014, this was an experimental project whereby, for the first time, the cruise industry applied the principle that waste is a resource and must be treated as such also on board ship. It entailed testing innovative shipboard waste management models and techniques so as to improve the European cruise industry’s contribution to addressing climate change. The Sustainable Cruise Project on board focused on three types of waste – biodegradable waste, packaging and paper – and had well-defined set objectives: recovery of the economic value of 1700 m³ of biodegradable waste per year and definition of a plan for a reduction of 30% in packaging and 40% in paper.
In addition to the installation on board of a turbo-dryer for the treatment of biodegradable food waste, the replacement of glass mineral water bottles by recyclable PET plastic bottles and the organization of activities designed to raise awareness regarding the sensible use of paper, many of the project actions carried out on the ship provided a testing ground for the actual application of the domestic and European requirements in the field of shipboard waste management and identified areas for improvements that need to be made to enhance sustainability in the industry.
Sustainable waste management on board was supported by activities extending ashore with coordination and integration of shoreside reception and processing facilities. An integral part of the project was the creation of a Euro-Mediterranean network of ports fostering cooperation in the field of waste management and recycling using port waste disposal facilities. The active involvement of 52 Mediterranean ports played no small part in the success of the project, which achieved significant results during the three years of experimentation.
The Costa Pacifica was chosen to pilot Sustainable Cruise and Costa Cruises was the project leader for this pioneering initiative, which was an important milestone on the road to sustainability for the industry as a whole.