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MSC Cruises second major cruise line to ban single-use plastics fleet wide

MSC Cruises has pledged to eliminate the use of single-use plastics across its global fleet by the end of the coming Dubai cruise season, March 2019, making it the second major line to do so after Norwegian Cruise Line.

All current single-use plastics will be replaced with sustainable alternatives, the Italian cruise line said in a statement. These efforts are therefore likely to already be underway during MSC Splendida’s upcoming Arabian Gulf cruise season.

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MSC Splendida will cruise roundtrip from Dubai in the Arabian Gulf during the coming 2018/19 season.

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The phasing out of virtually all single-use plastics from its fleet and shoreside operations will include shopping bags, spoons, glasses, stirrers and other items, as well as packaging from single-portion items such as butter cups, jams or yoghurts.

“At MSC Cruises, it is our mission to provide guests with the best holiday experiences at sea and we are fully committed to doing so in a sustainable way,” said Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises’ executive chairman. “For this reason, we are on an ongoing journey to reduce the environmental impact of our ships in operation.”

To kick off its plastic reduction efforts, the cruise line will no longer automatically serve drinks with a straw and will replace all plastic straws with fully compostable and biodegradable substitutes by the end of 2018.

This practice also extends to the company’s island destinations, shore-based offices and the shore excursions.

“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,” added Vago.

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MSC passengers currently use around 3.2-million plastic straws alone per year.

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MSC Cruises efforts are also likely to impact Dubai-based ship chandlers and shipboard food suppliers as MSC said it will be working with international and local suppliers in areas where its ships are deployed to ensure they provide eco-friendly alternatives made of 100% biodegradable resins.

Biodegradable plastics are typically made with renewable resources including corn- or sugar-based polylactic acid, bamboo, paper or other organic materials.

The company said it would also work with all of its supplier to remove single-use plastics in products and packaging wherever possible.

Where technology does not yet allow for sustainable non-plastic substitution, MSC Cruises wants to ensure all disposable plastic waste items are recycled correctly. To do that, it will use an expert organisation to verify and certify all recycling activities.

“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,” said Vago.

“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,” he added.

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