Cruise ships and environment pollution: which shipping companies fight for sustainability



Major shipping companies strive to find a balance between respect for the environment and what is economically viable.

A series of proudly announced new ocean liners promise to protect the sea, the air and the climate. Is it possible to make the dream of enjoying a cruise vacation without worrying about the environment come true?

Luxury cruise ship

Major shipping companies strive to find a balance between respect for the environment and what is economically viable. A series of proudly announced new ocean liners promise to protect the sea, the air and the climate. Is it possible to make the dream of enjoying a cruise vacation without worrying about the environment come true?

The new generations of ships at least reduce their harmful emissions, for example, through an energy efficient combination of fossil fuels with a battery system or fuel cells. Many details in the design of the ship and the operation on board improve the climatic balance. Sönke Diesener of the German Union for Nature and Biodiversity Conservation (NABU) speaks of "promising solutions".

Some shipping companies have optimized their fleets. "But cruise vacations are still not environmentally friendly," says NABU's head of environmental and transport policy. Highly polluting heavy fuel oil continues to dominate the world's oceans.



Heavy fuel oil powered engines damage the environment with emissions of sulfur oxide, nitrogen oxide, particulate matter and soot, and contribute to the climate crisis with carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Lower emitting fuels, such as marine gas oils, are more expensive and emit slightly less CO2.

Even the least polluting LNG or liquefied natural gas, which is seen as a transition solution for cruise ships aiming to reduce environmental impact, only achieves a CO2 reduction of around 20 percent. And it also has drawbacks, as Katharina Koppe of the German Environment Agency explains: "During production, transport and operation, climate-damaging methane escapes into the atmosphere, reducing the CO2 advantage and makes the climate balance, in some cases, even worse than that of ships with marine diesel".

Some shipping companies comply with the regulations of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations body responsible for maritime transport, equipping their ships with gas washing systems or "scrubbers", which, however, increase energy consumption. In addition, contaminated wash waters are often disposed of in the sea.

German cruise operator Tui Cruises says that thanks to scrubbers, nitrogen oxide catalytic converters and soot particulate filters, six ships in its fleet emit up to 99 percent less sulfur, 75 less less nitrogen oxide and 60 percent less harmful particles. The company also ensures that the waste is properly disposed of on land.

TUI's goals are ambitious. By 2030, the first ships in its fleet will be completely climate-neutral, Tui Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier recently told the German newspaper "Tagesspiegel". According to Meier, however, there is a big unknown: the sufficient availability of biofuels.

The German cruise line Aida Cruises bets mainly on fossil LNG, which could one day be replaced by synthetic or biogenic fuel. Other German companies, such as Hapag Lloyd or Plantours, sail with marine gas oil.

Grid power from renewable sources is now seen as a ray of hope. The possibility of connecting the ships to the port's electrical network will help reduce emissions and reduce noise and vibrations.



"Environmentally produced grid energy will be very important in the green energy mix of cruise travel," says German professor Harald Zeiss, who specializes in sustainability and tourism.

However, while nearly half of all ships will soon be able to have shore power or can quickly adapt to it, according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), so far there are only 14 ports worldwide with corresponding connections. Among them are Germans from Hamburg, Kiel and Rostock-Warnemünde, as well as Bergen and Trondheim in Norway and Southampton in England.

Rerouting and efficient driving aided by sophisticated software, as well as exterior coatings to reduce aerodynamic drag, can help reduce fuel consumption. In addition, there are new innocuous techniques to avoid the encrustation of marine vegetation and fauna in the cooling system. In the management of hotels, which consume up to 50 percent of the ship's energy, changes are also being introduced.

"Some ocean giants have better waste disposal and sewage treatment systems than a small municipality," says NABU consultant Diesener. Details such as biodegradable cleaning and care products, optimization of air conditioning systems or recovery of braking energy from elevators and green and fair shore excursions are other steps towards greater environmental protection and sustainability. .

Norway is currently considered a pioneer country on the path to climate-friendly shipping. The ships on the Hurtigruten commuter express line run on marine diesel, which is blended with up to 20 percent biodiesel from food waste.



By 2030, the shipping company wants to be able to offer emission-free cruises. New competitor on the so-called "fast lane", Havila Kystruten, is betting on computer-controlled energy management of its combined LNG and battery system. The boats can run in purely electric mode for up to four hours.

In international waters, ships are authorized to navigate with heavy fuel oil. In coastal areas and in special areas designated by the IMO as Emission Control Areas (ECZs), stricter regulations apply regarding the emission of sulfur and nitrogen oxides. These include the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, the coasts of the United States and Canada, including the waters surrounding Hawaii and the American Caribbean, some areas of China and, in general, all ports of the European Union.

In the Antarctic and, in the future, in the Arctic, ships cannot carry heavy fuel oil on board as a precautionary measure.

German cruise journalist Franz Neumeier suggests "short cruises in the vicinity and arriving by train" as an environmentally friendly option for tourists. In fact, long flights considerably worsen the CO2 footprint of the holidays.

Cruise passengers can voluntarily offset the CO2 with an additional sum of money and thus balance at least the greenhouse gases emitted per head during the trip.


Travel recycling

The Turkish metro hosts a pilot program of vending machines that exchange tickets for plastic containers to encourage recycling in the country.




Travel recycling

Containers to separate all types of waste, clean points in each city, returnable containers ... Of a time to this part who does not recycle or reuse is because he does not want. The truth is that the administrations have put the batteries to facilitate the task and that there are no excuses, but there are still those who refuse to do so.

The accumulation and treatment of waste is one of the most serious problems affecting the planet, the human footprint is very deep and harmful, so that all initiatives that are aimed at changing that are welcome, as the genius they have put in practice last week in Turkey for those who only care about their pocket.

Vending machines have been installed in public transport stations in the country where you can buy the ticket at your destination, but with a different use: a hole through which to insert plastic bottles or cans of soda to recycle and to get us cheaper, even gratuitous.
Containers to separate all types of waste, clean points in each city, returnable containers ... Of a time to this part who does not recycle or reuse is because he does not want. The truth is that the administrations have put the batteries to facilitate the task and that there are no excuses, but there are still those who refuse to do so.

The accumulation and treatment of waste is one of the most serious problems affecting the planet, the human footprint is very deep and harmful, so that all initiatives that are aimed at changing that are welcome, as the genius they have put in practice last week in Turkey for those who only care about their pocket.

Vending machines have been installed in public transport stations in the country where you can buy the ticket at your destination, but with a different use: a hole through which to insert plastic bottles or cans of soda to recycle and to get us cheaper, even gratuitous.

Travelers get discounts on their tickets and can even get them for free if they get to recycle the amount of waste needed. For example, a plastic container of 33 centiliters is equivalent to 2 kurus -the currency used in the country, about 0.30 euros-, so to pay for the entire ticket and that it would be free for us, it would take 28 bottles or cans of this type .


Travel recycling

At the moment there are 25 machines installed in a pilot program to see how citizens respond, but it is expected to place 100 before the end of the year. This is a very necessary initiative, especially in a country like Turkey, the third largest producer of waste only behind Germany and France, and the least recycled in Europe.

Getting more recycle, raising awareness among the population about the need to better manage waste and encourage the use of public transport are the goals of this fantastic initiative.



What can be recycled: list

What can be recycled


When we propose to start recycling, there are many doubts that can arise to us in order to carry out this process correctly. To what container should the recyclable materials go? How can I know if this type of processed paper or cardboard can be recyclable?



Virtually any element of our house, of our workplace or of our study center is full of things that we can reuse and recycle, so that, at the beginning of this process, we find a lot of new objects and waste that can make recycling a real headache. We will try to help you to know what are the recyclable materials.

The first step we must take to separate the recyclable materials is to make different large cubes to sort each and every waste. Ideally, you can get a total of four, which you can label as follows: organic matter, packaging, glass and paper.

With just this simple classification you can start with the recycling process in a fast, simple and very effective way, since a large amount of the objects and materials with which we have contact day after day are related to these classifications.

Today we want to offer a help to all those who are just beginning to discover recycling and want to prove what this experience is like, even if they have many doubts about how to distribute their different waste. Take good note and discover a complete guide below in which you can discover the main types of recyclable materials, as well as those that are not suitable for this process.

An advert. In this article we speak only and exclusively of materials that you can recycle in the containers that exist in your town or city. Obviously, any material can be brought to a clean point or a green dot. But, for example, a light bulb can not be thrown into the glass container, since it contains mercury.



Types of recyclable materials


Paper

  • Leaves torn from notebooks
  • Newspapers
  • Journals
  • Papers, both printed and non-printed
  • Envelopes of common letters
  • Bills
  • Forms
  • Folders
  • Telephone directories
  • Cardboard packaging
  • Transport boxes

Glasses

  • Food packaging
  • Bottles of alcoholic beverages
  • Perfume and cosmetic packaging

Textiles

  • Cotton fabrics
  • Linen fabrics
  • Fabrics of 100% natural origin

Metals

  • Cans and containers of soft drinks
  • Aluminum and ferrous metals (metal cans for food and drinks, for example)

Plastics

  • Containers from food and drink
  • Cosmetic bottles
  • Transport packaging of the food industry
  • Disposable cups, plates and cutlery
  • Pots
  • Plastic chairs (as well as more furniture elements of this material)
  • Plastic bottles of cleaning products



What cannot be recycled


Papers

  • Papers from a fax
  • Papers printed with carbon-based ink
  • Commercial catalogs
  • Cellophane as well as other types of adhesive tape
  • Paper napkins
  • Kitchen paper used
  • Used glasses
  • Photographic paper
  • Labels
  • Stickers
  • Photo negatives
  • Plasticized paper

Glasses

  • Spoiled spotlights
  • Molten light bulbs
  • Lamps
  • Flat crystals (such as those from a broken window)
  • Mirrors
  • Glasses lenses
  • Ceramic objects such as cups, pots, plates or glasses.


Textiles

  • Printed fabrics
  • Fabrics with a high percentage of plastic material
  • Tinted fabrics
  • Rags impregnated with cleaning products
  • Dirty paint rags
  • Textile soaked in flammable products such as fuel


Metals

  • Cans from household cleaning products
  • Containers that have contained products with toxic substances, such as paints.


The list could continue practically indefinitely. However, through all the objects and products that we have mentioned, we can quickly and easily make an idea of ​​which are the main products for recycling.

If you are going to recycle for the first time, do not be afraid of making mistakes, just keep going, because that small gesture that you are going to make can imply an important change in the generations of the future, that will appreciate that we have been able to conserve the environment in a sustainable way and autoabastecible through the recycling of different materials and elements that we have. Hopefully this guide of recyclable materials has helped you.


A mushroom that recycles plastic

A group of students of Biochemistry at Yale University have discovered a fungus, called Pestalotiopsis microspora, which can break down plastic. The finding may be a "breakthrough" for the recycling sector, experts say.



The discovery occurred when students Pria Anand, Jeffrey Huang and Jonathan Russell conducted a study in the Ecuadorian Amazon collecting bodies -Mushrooms endophytes or bacteria that live at least part of their lives in symbiosis in plant tissues without causing sickness and They found the species. After the finding, published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, Anand decided to investigate whether the endophytes he had collected had biological activity in the presence of plastic, while Huang investigated the ability of organisms to break chemical bonds. In this way they were able to identify the most efficient enzymes in the decomposition of polyurethane, a plastic widely used in the manufacture of synthetic fibers, parts for electronic devices and foams for thermal insulation.

Experts point out that several species of fungi can decompose plastic at least partially, but "Pestalotiopsis is the only one that can do it without the presence of oxygen", something that they consider "fundamental" for future landfill applications.

Yale students have also indicated that, with the help of this fungus, objects such as plastic bags, "which take years to decompose," could have "a shorter life." However, they have also warned that transforming a laboratory finding into an industrial-scale tool will be a long process.


Recycle diapers to create energy, fertilizer and new materials

The "Happy Nappy" program of the French company Suez Environnement, recently launched, aims to make use of the thousands of used diapers that babies generate every year. Thanks to various treatments could be achieved to generate energy, fertilizer for plants and new materials from reused plastic.



Each baby needs about 6,000 diapers in its first 24 months of life, which means every year, in our country, hundreds of thousands of dirty diapers are thrown away. What if we could recycle them? It is precisely what this French company is carrying out through its subsidiary Sita.

The first thing to analyze is the composition of the diaper used. Of the total, most (between 50 and 70 percent) are organic waste, followed by plastics and fibers with between 10 and 20 percent and finally the absorbent polymers, which represent between 5 and 10 percent of the total.



For its recycling the first thing that is done is the crushing to separate the different parts, to later treat them independently.

Once separated each material receives a treatment. The organic waste goes to a purification system and sludge that will produce biogas and fertilizers for future use in agriculture. For its part, plastics would function as the raw material for the manufacture of new compounds.

As explained by Jean-Louis Chaussade, CEO of Suez Environnement, "the creation and positive results of this pilot project perfectly illustrate the synergies that exist between garbage and the water business, and how our technologies and capabilities can lead to creation of a new waste valorization scheme ".