Royal Caribbean Group (RCI) has introduced a new generation of waste management technology at sea.
These tools, from waste-to-energy systems, food waste applications and an expanded network of green hubs, are a result of the cruise company’s drive to deliver the best vacation experiences responsibly, the cruise ship operator said.
Debuting this year, on two of the cruise company’s latest ships, will be the cruise industry’s first systems to turn solid waste directly into energy on board.
“I am proud of Royal Caribbean Group’s drive to SEA the Future and be better tomorrow than we are today,” said Jason Liberty, RCI President and CEO.
“Pioneering the first waste-to-energy system on a cruise ship builds on our track record of waste management and furthers our commitment to remove waste from local landfills and deliver great vacation experiences responsibly.”
The systems, microwave-assisted pyrolysis (MAP) and micro auto gasification (MAG), to be fitted on RCI’s ’Icon of the Seas’ and Silversea Cruises’ ’Silver Nova’, will take waste on board and convert it into synthesis gas (syngas) that the ships can directly use as energy.
Similar to land-based waste-to-energy facilities, the result is re-purposing waste in an efficient and sustainable way, RCI said. Another system bio-product, biochar, can also be used as a soil nutrient.
RCI is also looking at waste management from start to finish, including plans to reduce food waste across the fleet by 50% by 2025. To do so, the cruise company is implementing initiatives across its brands, including:
- Developing a proprietary platform to monitor food supply and accurately estimate how much food should be produced, prepped and ordered on a given day.
- Using artificial intelligence (AI) to adjust food production in real time.
- Introducing a dedicated on board food waste role to monitor and train crew members.
- Tracking guest demand for specific menu items and adjusting menu preparation and ordering accordingly.
- Partnering with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to introduce a food waste awareness campaign in the crew dining areas fleetwide.
To date, RCI has achieved a 24% reduction in food waste by focusing on the front end of the food chain, which prevents and addresses many of the main causes of food waste, including inventory management and over-preparing.
Since the company’s first environmental initiative, Save the Waves, aimed at ensuring no solid waste goes overboard, RCI has worked to increase accountability and strengthen responsible waste management practices.
To do so, it has developed Green Hub, a capacity-building programme to identify waste vendors in strategic destinations that has helped divert 92% of its waste from landfills. Since its start in 2014, the programme has grown to 33 ports worldwide.
Recently joining the Green Hub programme is the Galapagos Islands, where Silversea became the first operator to gain certification in environmental management by diverting all waste from landfill.
Initiatives like this allow RCI to continue to safeguard the delicate ecosystem of the Galapagos for future generations, the company said.
With a sustainability journey that began over 30 years ago, RCI also said that it has remained steadfast in its commitment to innovate and advance the solutions necessary for a better future.
Building on a robust portfolio of technologies that improve energy efficiency, water treatment and waste management, incorporating waste-to-energy systems is an extension of the company’s commitment to reach beyond the expected and SEA the Future to sustain the planet, energise the communities in which it operates and accelerate innovation, RCI concluded.