MSC Cruises has given its backing to a UK Chamber of Shipping initiative to rid the maritime industry of non-essential single-use plastic items by the end of 2021.
The Single-Use Plastic Charter sees signatories pledge a goal of zero plastic pollution from ocean ships and aims to ban the use of non-essential single-use plastics after next year.
Those signing the new charter have pledged to go beyond both the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) work and the UK government’s commitment – which focuses on the exclusion of plastic straws, drink stirrers and plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
MSC said it had eliminated 97 million items of plastic in 2019 after identifying single-use plastic in its hotel operations, shops, restaurants and kitchens.
Nearly 20 million plastic straws were replaced in the year with nine million compostable straws, plastic coverings for more than 10,000 sunbeds were removed and 12 tons of plastic packaging for dishwater detergents were replaced with eco-friendly alternatives.
Linden Coppell, MSC’s director of sustainability, said: “We are honoured to be one of the charter’s first signatories and we applaud the UK Chamber of Shipping in launching its initiative.
“The pledge goes beyond the UK government’s commitment to ban single-use plastic items which we hope will encourage more organisations to do more to combat what is of real global concern.
“According to research by the British government, 80% of plastic enters the marine environment from land-based sources, especially via rivers, but clearly all of us in the shipping community must play our part.”