Norwegian expedition operator aims to become 'world's first plastic-free cruise company'
Hurtigruten, the world’s biggest expedition cruise operator, has announced a ban on all unnecessary single-use plastic by July 2, 2018.
Everything from plastic straws to coffee lids and plastic bags will be removed from the Norwegian company's 14 ships by that date, it says.
The goal is to become "the world's first plastic-free cruise company".
“There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans," said Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam. "But it’s time to take action."
"By getting rid of single-use plastic on board all ships by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow.
"It is possible to act now, and the oceans do not deserve more hesitation."
The move comes as several airlines and cruise companies respond to growing global momentum on single-use plastics - with Ryanair pledging to eliminate all non-recyclable plastics from its operations by 2023, for example.
On the oceans, British cruise lines P&O and Cunard say they will abolish single-use plastics by 2022, and the RCCL group (which includes Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara Cruises) has a task force looking at ways to minimise, “and if possible, eliminate” the use of plastics on its ships.
It has not committed to a date, however.
By contrast, Hurtigruten says it will eradicate all single-use plastic items used by 400,000 guests every year within several weeks - right down to stir pins, plastic aprons and single-use packaging of butter.
It comes as less than 30pc of plastics are recycled, according to the European Commission, and plastics form 85pc of beach litter — a fact highlighted in heartbreaking HD by Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II.
“Plastic pollution is the single biggest threat our oceans," Skjeldam said.
Hurtigruten operates expeditions from the Antarctic to Arctic Canada, as well as cruises along Norway's famous, fjord-spliced coastal route.
It also plans to impose the single-use plastic ban on its hotels, restaurants and other-land based operations operated by its fully-owned subsidiary Hurtigruten Svalbard, the company says, and has challenged its suppliers to follow suit.