MSC Cruises has announced an ambitious plan to remove single-use plastics from its entire fleet and introduce sustainable alternatives if available.

By the end of March 2019, the line will phase out a range of plastic items – such as shopping bags, spoons, glasses, and stirrers – from its ship operations and ashore and source environmentally-friendly replacements.

The first step in the Plastics Reduction Programme will see all plastic straws replaced with 100 per cent compostable and biodegradable substitutes by the end of this year.

In addition, drinks will no longer automatically be served with a straw, a measure that could see the overall consumption of straws reduce by 50 per cent.

Speaking to Cruise Trade News, a company spokesperson admitted it was an ambitious target, but was confident of success.

“This is a war on plastics – it’s not just about straws, rather it’s much more than that. It is a journey, and we believe that single-use plastics do not belong at sea. We also believe that passengers support this way of thinking.”

The spokesperson added that the line had studied all items on its ships to see how it could, for example, modify the way it serves food and reduce single-use consumption onboard.

MSC Cruises is also working with international and local suppliers to find eco-friendly alternatives made of 100 per cent biodegradable resins, consisting of renewable resources including corn or sugar-based polylactic acid, bamboo, paper or other organic materials.

Talks are ongoing with suppliers at all levels in the supply chain to remove single-use plastics in products and packaging wherever possible.

This, added the spokesperson, was connected to removing “invisible” single-use plastics – “this is not just limited to the ships themselves”, they added.

Antonio Paradiso, MD for MSC Cruises UK & Ireland, said: “At MSC Cruises, our passion is the sea and we are always working hard to grow and evolve our business with a mind-set to respect the environment and the oceans which we operate in.”

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