Cruise Line Company Carnival Reduces Food Waste by 38%

As the company works toward its sustainability goals, it points to the supporting roles of biodigesters and dehydrators.

Biodigesters help Carnival Corp. divert food waste from landfills. Photo courtesy of Carnival Corp.

Carnival Corp. has achieved a 38% reduction in food waste per passenger relative to its 2019 baseline. It aims to reduce food waste by 40% per person by 2025, on its path toward a 50% reduction by 2030. In 2022, it had reduced food waste by 30%.

“This performance signals continued momentum in the company’s efforts to shrink its food print—an important element in the company’s long-standing commitment to sustainable operations from ship to shore,” the company states in the release.

Overall, the global cruise company is working toward a slew of 2030 sustainability goals and is pursuing net zero emissions from ship operations by 2050.

Biodigesters, Dehydrators
Carnival points to biodigesters and dehydrators as solutions it has leaned on to reduce food waste. The company has more than 600 biodigesters across its fleet. The equipment houses naturally occurring bacteria that enable the ships to organically break down and liquify 80% of uneaten food on board to a fraction of the original volume. “By ‘digesting’ this leftover food down to a liquid form, it can be sustainably returned to nature and diverted from landfills where natural decomposition would otherwise slowly release methane—a greenhouse gas,” the company says. This year, it says it has avoided over 31,000 metric tons of equivalent greenhouse gas emissions that would have been generated had the food gone to a landfill.

The company has 45-plus dehydrators across its fleet. It says these machines build on the effectiveness of the biodigesters by enabling the ships to sustainably break down a wider range of food items, including fruit and vegetable rinds, animal fats and other solid foods that are traditionally harder to break down. The dehydrators reduce food waste volume by up to 90%.

Step by Step
Carnival has put in place several other strategies to reduce food waste at every step, starting with purchasing. It has onboard awareness campaigns to educate guests and employees on how to help do their part, it works with food banks to deliver surplus ingredients and meals to people in need, and it has found ways to get the most out of each possible ingredient. Orange peels have become citrus muffins and unserved bread, croutons.

Carnival’s portfolio of cruise lines includes AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (Australia), P&O Cruises (U.K.), Princess Cruises and Seabourn.



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