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Carnival Cruise Line is highlighting its environmental efforts on Earth Day by recognizing its industry leadership and significant reduction in food waste since its restart of guest operations. As Carnival nears the return of its full fleet, it becomes the first major cruise line to employ bio-digesters across its entire operation, with the intention of lawfully discharging only processed food waste.

Carnival installed more than 200 bio-digesters so every ship sailing is fully equipped for galley crew to use them. Currently, 22 Carnival ships are serving guests and Carnival Splendor’s restart on May 2 will complete the full 23-ship fleet’s return.

A bio-digester is an enclosed container converting food waste into liquid at an accelerated rate – breaking down 99 percent of the food put into it, with only a fine, silt-like material remaining. By utilizing beneficial microorganisms, plus oxygen and warm water, digesters can process anything that can be consumed by a human.

“Earth Day is a great opportunity to recognize our efforts toward a more sustainable future and making the process of discarding food waste significantly more environmentally-friendly is a big step in that mission.” said Richard Pruitt, vice president of environmental operations at Carnival Cruise Line.

BioHiTech America, a Renovare Environmental Company, supplied many of the digesters for the Carnival fleet. On Mardi Gras alone, 14 digesters on board can process about 142,000 pounds of food waste each week. Renovare Environmental estimates as much as 94 million pounds will be digested across the entire Carnival fleet by the end of the year.

“We are proud to have teamed with Carnival Cruise Line on a successful path towards food waste reduction, efficient and safe disposal methods, and the associated beneficial environmental outcome,” said Emily F. Dyson, vice president of science, research and development for Renovare Environmental.

Without bio-digesters, millions of pounds of unprocessed food waste would otherwise be lawfully discharged into the ocean as allowed by maritime law. Current maritime regulations do not require food waste to be processed and only prohibit discharge at sea within 12 nautical miles from land, making Carnival’s new practice of utilizing bio-digesters ahead of the industry standard.

Environmental sustainability is an important and ongoing mission at Carnival. Carnival Corporation pioneered the introduction of the liquefied natural gas (LNG) technology platform to the passenger cruise sector as part of the company’s commitment to emissions reduction. Last year, with the debut Mardi Gras, Carnival Cruise Line introduced the first LNG-powered cruise ship in North America and will soon welcome two more ships fueled by LNG into its fleet – Carnival Celebration this fall and Carnival Jubilee in 2023.

Also, in the fall of 2023, Carnival’s newly transformed Terminal F which opens later this year will usher in a new era of port infrastructure as one of the first at Port Miami equipped to provide shore power. Along with the LNG, food waste and shore power initiatives, Carnival is also continuing its aggressive program to reduce single-use plastics across its corporate headquarters and on board its fleet.