All 50 cruise ships across the cruise lines owned by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. will ring in 2019 free of plastic straws. Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, TUI Cruises, and Pullmantur Cruceros are eliminating plastic straws en route to comprehensive plastics elimination programs across their brands.
For over a year now, RCL ships have begun implementing a “straws upon request” policy. That program will be taken a step further by the start of 2019, when guests requesting a straw will receive a paper straw instead of a plastic one.
Guests also will begin seeing Forrest Stewardship Council-certified wood coffee stirrers and bamboo garnish picks as part of RCL’s plastic reduction strategy.
After straws, stirrers and picks, the company’s next efforts will focus on other single-use plastics such as condiment packets, cups, and bags. A full plastics audit is underway, with the overall plan to be completed in phases by 2020.
Since 1992, RCL’s Save the Waves program has brought best sustainability practices to the company’s ships. The program introduced state-of-the-art recycling centers onboard ships, which are equipped with shredders, balers, and compactors, as well as crushers for glass, light bulbs, tin, and aluminum.
Their goal is “zero landfill”, i.e. all waste is reused, recycled or incinerated. RCL already does that for its ships that operate in ports with appropriate facilities. For the rest, the average waste-to-landfill has been reduced to less than 0.5 pounds per day per person – less than 1/8 of the US average.
Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises, gave the following statement: “Healthy oceans are vital to the success of our company. For over 25 years, our Save the Waves program has guided us to reduce, reuse, and recycle everything we can. Eliminating single-use plastics is another step in that program.”