While the cruise industry is not always thought of as the most sustainable, Carnival is looking to change that. In a press announcement, the huge cruise line said that it would be testing out food waste bio-digester technology across its fleet. If this sounds like crazy scientific jargon to you, we don’t blame you, because, well … it is. Plus, it’s something completely new and different in the industry! Let’s jump in and try to make sense of what’s going on over at Carnival HQ.
What is it?
The bio-digester technology that Carnival is testing out is a machine that sorts and “digests” trash. Pieces of plastic are sorted out from actual bio-waste like food, while the remaining waste is aerobically digested. This basically means that it is broken down using microbes and enzymes that very literally digest the waste. The machine is described as a stainless-steel stomach and will operate 24 hours a day.
Why is it good?
In short, it’s good because it reduces each ship’s ecological footprint in a number of ways. First and foremost, it helps ensure that plastic waste doesn’t find its way into the water by sorting it out. Second, the way it deals with waste is more efficient than any other way, making the actual process itself less wasteful (no pun intended). It’s natural and automated, meaning fewer people, machinery and harmful chemicals need to be involved. The byproduct of this is a translucent liquid that is perfectly safe for the environment. Greenhouse gas is often emitted by normal waste-processing machines, and this eliminates the need for that. So, all in all, it’s just a far more healthy (and efficient) way of dealing with waste on a cruise ship!
Great! When will it be live?
Well, Carnival is still testing it out. It’s on fifteen ships as of right now, with twelve more slated to get bio-digesting systems onboard as well. Three different types of the machines are being tested, “including systems that can evaluate a variety of parameters and produce valuable data, including the weight and volume of food waste digested, the net food waste reduced and the amount of CO2 reduced, among others.” The ultimate goal will be to figure out the best system for each ship, and to eventually outfit a great number of ships with them.
This announcement comes as part of Carnival’s 2017 pledge to reduce its footprint by 25%, and this is an excellent step in that direction. We’re definitely excited to see how effective these machines really are (even if they sound pretty crazy). Futuristic solutions to modern world problems, people!