How Waste Is Dealt With On The World’s Largest Cruise Ship

This cruise ship is
basically a floating city. And just like in a normal city, all its residents produce a lot of trash. But there aren’t any garbage trucks here to scoop it up and take it away. We’re at sea, obviously. And since waste can’t and shouldn’t just be dumped in the ocean, well, what do cruise
ships do with all of it? This is something the industry’s been dealing with for years. Reporter: Carnival Cruise
Line is coming clean about polluting oceans. Narrator: Princess Cruises
was fined $40 million in 2016 for illegal dumping, and Carnival got hit with
a $20 million fine in 2019 for disposing of plastic
waste in the ocean. Stewart Chiron: Carnival
Corporation’s issues really brought the need
for better technology so that these ships can
operate more efficiently. Narrator: Cruise lines have
been working on systems to purify water and deal
with waste inside ships. Chiron: Up until now, these types of options weren’t available. Narrator: All this new tech was built into Royal Caribbean’s
largest and newest ship, Symphony of the Seas. The company says it’s
a zero-landfill ship, which means it uses
everything from recycling to water filtration to
deal with its own waste. And this guy’s in charge of making sure no single water bottle is unaccounted for. Alex Mago: Welcome to
waste and recycling center. Narrator: We’re down on deck two, a secret, crew-only area of the ship. Crew members check all
the ship’s trash cans for recyclables and bring them down here for Alex’s team to handle. Despite being the only waste facility on this massive ship,
it’s surprisingly quiet. Alex said the busiest
time is in the morning, when things are unpackaged for the day. Mago: This is the waste
streams that we have. Every waste stream has its
own way of handling it. Narrator: There are
separate teams to deal with each incoming recyclable: glass, cardboard, plastic, and metal. Mago: This is our incinerator room. So, we have two incinerators, one and two. This area is manned 24 hours a day. We have 10 crew members
who are working here, five in the morning and
five in the evening. Narrator: Crew members
separate glass into colors: green, brown, and white. [glass clinking] Mago: This is the byproduct of it after we crush it. Narrator: They can process upwards of 13,000 pounds of glass for a weeklong cruise. All the small glass
pieces are stored in bins until the ship docks. Plastic goes through
this massive compactor. Even though the ship’s
gotten rid of plastic straws, it still relies on bottled water because, for health and safety reasons, no cruise ship is allowed
to have water fountains. So, every week, they crush about 528 gallons of water bottles. Mago: We are compacting
the cardboard over there. Narrator: Throughout the
day, cardboard is stacked up in this machine, called a baler. Once it’s full, it’s all
compressed into bundles. And used aluminum cans, well, they’re sent through this baler. The machine squeezes
them down into big cubes, which are then stored in a fridge just off the waste room. Mago: This area is actually for the items that can produce smell, the garbage. Narrator: And the smell
could get pretty bad. The waste is stored for up
to seven days at a time, until the ship docks back in Miami, where all the plastic, aluminum, paper, and glass go to recycling
partner facilities. In 2018, Royal Caribbean recycled 43.7 million pounds of waste. And any rebates earned from
these recycling programs go back to the employee retirement fund. The cruise line is hoping that it’s a nice incentive for employees
to bring recycling down from their own crew cabins. So, what about things
that can’t get recycled? For example, food. Every week, the ship loads up 600,000 pounds of provisions. But for the food that’s not eaten, well, the company had to figure out how to get rid of all of that, too. Each one of the ship’s restaurants and 36 kitchens has its own suction drain. Chefs and waiters keep food
scraps in separate buckets. Then, once they’ve gotten enough, they place it all in this special drain. All the food waste ends up in one big pipe that runs through the entire ship. And that pipe leads to what’s known as the hydro-processor. Mago: Those pipes over there, so, this is where the food waste is passing through. This is being processed through here. Narrator: This machine
has a bunch of tiny layers of mesh to break down the food. Mago: It’s being stored in our tank. We have two tanks of
comminuted food waste. Narrator: And the final step? Incineration. Now, let’s talk about your toilet waste. Yep, we’re gonna go there. It’s all a part of the
water-treatment system on board, controlled from the engineering room. Narrator: Water is divided
into two categories: gray water, from sinks,
laundries, and drains, and black water. That includes everything from the galleys and your toilets, including your urine. Narrator: The purification
system purifies the water to a point above the US federal standard, which is almost safe to drink. Narrator: Anything that can’t be recycled or reused on board goes to what’s known as a waste-to-energy facility. Now, we didn’t get to
see it for ourselves, but Royal Caribbean said “heat or gas from the waste is collected and converted to energy.” Chiron: It’s definitely
within their best interests to be the most environmentally friendly, because it significantly can
reduce the waste on board, the weight that they have
to carry, the fuel usage, and it reduces their
operational expenses as well. Narrator: And after one week at sea, the recycling gets cleared out, incoming provisions are brought on board, and the crew prepares the ship to start the process all over again.

100 thoughts on “How Waste Is Dealt With On The World’s Largest Cruise Ship

  1. people with cold or that is sick in 2019: noo lets stay home
    People with cold or that is sick in 2019 (corona): YYYEEEAAHHH LETS TRAVEL

  2. I understand that once they've gotten a certain distance from land they are allowed to dump their raw sewage into the SEA. How would the owner of Carnival like a whale to shit in his kitchen ????

  3. Royal Caribbean is coming over all wholesome and cares of the ocean, yeah right. They got caught dumping it In the ocean. Disgusting behaviour!!!! Shove your cruises where the su don't shine

  4. Incineration is terrible for air quality, but it really depends on what you burn.
    I don't know what they are burning, other than food waste.

  5. I dont trust anything thats about making money i don’t believe this whole recycling bullshit they talkin about, why you think people always get sick on these stupid ships, its about making money thats all

  6. More importantly: How Cruise Ships Are Destroying The World

  7. I don't trust cruise ships. I don't trust the food, I don't trust the water, I don't trust the cleanliness. Absolutely no desire to ever go on a cruise ship

  8. To those who are bitching about the Coronavirus, I hope you people know that this is not the first virus to hop aboard a cruise ship and because it is nothing more than a floating city it will not be the last!

  9. Why can't food waste be thrown into the ocean? I mean that's just gonna degrade away on the bottom of the ocean floor and maybe become food for some aquatic species living down there. I do understand not throwing plastic, cardboard and aluminum waste or recycling water. But food waste could be just dumped 🤔 won't cause any harm as I said. Although if I'm wrong feel free to enlighten me.

  10. I used to work on Carnival and people recycling the trash work 12 hours a day, no day off for 6-8 months for about 700 dollars a month

  11. Plan to break the system : dump trash in international waters and see the world fight on who should fine and get the money from the cruise company

  12. So basically everything goes to the ocean and now they are trying not to. I just wasted 5:42 watching the video

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