11 December 2017

TUI Cruises – Waste prevention at sea

A cruise ship is like a floating city – and as in all cities in the world, different types of waste are generated by cruise vessels. For TUI Cruises, continuous waste reduction on board its ships is an integral element of its entrepreneurial environment management. The company avoids packaging and disposable products to the maximum extent possible. Where this is not possible, it seeks to avoid or reduce waste, e.g. through reusable systems, bulk packaging, dosage and refill systems. Its top priority is the responsible management of the remaining waste, strictly governed by international regulations on the vessels.

The planning, implementation, control and documentation of proper waste disposal is the responsibility of the Environmental Officers on board all ships. They ensure implementation and compliance with MARPOL, the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. To that end, the waste generated by the vessels is separated by type on board the ships: recyclables such as glass, paper/cardboard, plastics and metal are sorted and partly shredded or compacted on board. All collected recyclables and hazardous or special waste (paint residues, medical waste, etc.) are landed ashore. In 2016, TUI Cruises collected and returned as much as around 25 per cent of its total waste for recycling on shore.

Responsibly feasting on board

A large variety of dishes and delicacies available around the clock: this is what the Premium All-Inclusive concept of the Mein Schiff fleet stands for. Unfortunately, this offering inevitably creates food waste. However, its volume is to be reduced. In order to achieve this goal, TUI Cruises teamed up with Futouris and United Against Waste e.v. in September 2016 to launch a two-year project to systematically reduce food waste.

In a pilot project, storage, production and buffet waste as well as leftovers from the plates were collected, weighed and accurately documented on board Mein Schiff 4. The goal was to identify the main areas creating food waste in order to subsequently optimise the relevant processes. A particular challenge was that hygiene requirements related to food handling on board cruise ships are particularly strict.

The initial results from pilot project carried out aboard Mein Schiff 4 have shown that simple measures can save around 20 per cent of food waste on board, e. g. in the buffet restaurant Anckelmannsplatz. “An incredibly great result,” said TUI Cruises Environmental Manager Lucienne Damm. The measures include presenting the food in smaller bowls on the buffets, optimising the arrangement of the food or using non-perishable foods instead of easily perishable carved fruit for decoration purposes. TUI Cruises also focuses on awareness-raising measures for crews and guests. Next year, measures that have proven successful will be rolled out across the fleet.

Leading the way for the cruise sector

The project results will be published by Futouris and thus made available to the entire cruise sector. This will result in far-reaching inputs in the form of specific proposals relating to the measurement of food waste and best practice measures to reduce food waste in order to promote more sustainable food management on cruise ships. At this year's Annual Convention of the German Travel Association (DRV), TUI Cruises was presented the Eco Trophea 2017 award in recognition of the project.