Costa Cruises Releases Results of Its Three-Year ‘Sustainable Cruise’ Project Aboard Costa Pacifica
Oct 7, 2014 8:00 AM ET
October 7, 2014 /3BL Media/ - Costa Cruises has released the results of a three-year Sustainable Cruise Project co-funded by the European Commission within the framework of the LIFE program. Begun in September 2011 aboard Costa Pacifica, the pilot project tested and evaluated shipboard waste-management models and techniques that conformed to the European Directive on Waste, which is based on the “Three Rs”: Reduce, Reuse,
In the experimental project, the cruise industry for the first time applied the principle that onboard waste is a resource that has value.
Costa Cruises was project leader and designed and proposed the initiative to the European Commission, which funded 50 percent of the 2.7 million euro (US$3.48 million) program. The balance of funding was provided in cooperation with Centro Interuniversitario per lo Sviluppo della Sostenibilità dei Prodotti (Academic Research Center for Sustainable Product Development), and the Italian companies VOMM, Contento Trade, Design Innovation, RINA Services and MedCruise, the association of Mediterranean
The project focused on three types of shipboard waste — packaging, paper and biodegradable materials. The project also created a network of ports to promote cooperation in the field of waste management, with the goal ofsubstantially reducing the environmental impact of shipboard waste.
A Turbo-Dryer* was installed on Costa Pacifica to treat biodegradable food waste. The biowaste was heat-treated in two phases, first cooking then drying, which substantially reduced the volume by removing moisture. The end product retained much of the proteins and nutritional value of the original material, and was suitable for use as raw material for animal feed.Laboratory tests revealed that the oil and fat derived from processing the biowaste (about 1.9 percent by volume) was potentially reusable as an energy source in the form of biofuel.
Positive results in reducing packaging were achieved by replacing mineral water in glass bottles, which comprised nearly 50 percent of glass waste generated onboard, with more efficiently recyclable PET plastic bottles. More than 11,900 glass bottles per cruise were replaced by PET plastic bottles, saving a total of 16,093 pounds of glass, on average.
Compared to an energy-intensive product like glass, that equated to a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions or a decrease of approximately 754 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per cruise day.
Similarly, replacing individual-serving plastic yogurt cups with 2-pintcontainers meant 6,500 fewer cups or 72 pounds less plastic loaded per cruise.
The sustainable waste-management practices originally tested on Costa Pacifica have since been implemented across the entire Costa Cruises fleet.
Equally successful efforts were aimed at reducing paper waste. More than 1,400 passengers and over 18,000 Costa employees were involved in a campaign to raise awareness of the need to reduce the use of paper.
A reduction in the volume of shipboard paper waste was achieved by introducing digital versions of information previously printed onboard. For
example, on Costa Pacifica “Today,” the daily events and activities newsletter published onboard, was reduced in size by 50 percent.
Creative experimentation within the Sustainable Cruise project generated results that opened up new applications for the Turbo-Dryer. Lab tests showed that the dryer could be used to recycle PET plastic onboard by turning it into granules ready for use in plastic manufacturing, achieving an additional 60 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The dryer alsorendered paper into semi-processed hygienic products suitable for use in paper mills for recycling or as additives or biomass.
The project also tested the application of Italian and European regulationsgoverning shipboard waste management and helped identify areas for improvement to enhance sustainability in the industry. Specifically, current Italian regulations dealing with waste landed ashore do not allow materials processed by the Turbo-Dryer to be classified as “secondary raw material,” even though the material is perfectly fit for other uses.
As the regulations now stand, once it has been disembarked, materialstreated and processed onboard are still regarded as waste and cannot be reused. That was an important finding, as it provides direction for legislative lobbying to amend the law to make it possible — and economically viable —to treat waste onboard a ship so it can be recovered and recycled once it is discharged ashore.
The project work conducted on Costa Pacifica was complemented by efforts to enhance waste management and treatment services at port reception facilities. The waste-processing facilities of 52 Mediterranean ports were surveyed and studied, resulting in the creation of a dedicated Web platform that will be updated twice a year. In addition, some of those ports will participate in a planned pilot program to provide cutting-edge waste management services for a Costa Cruises ship.
*The Turbo-Dryer consists of a stack of slowly rotating circular trays. Material is fed onto the top tray. After one revolution the material is wiped onto the next lower tray where it is mixed, leveled, and then after one revolution, is wiped to the next tray where the operation is repeated. The trays are contained in an enclosure in which air or gas heated up to 1,200 degrees F is circulated by internal fans.
About the LIFE Program
Established in 1992, the LIFE program is the European Union’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental and climate policy and legislation by co-financing projects with European added value. Since its inception, LIFE has co-financed some 3,954 projects across the EU, contributing approximately 3.1 billion euros (US$4 billion) to the protection of the environment.