A pioneering environmental pilot program has been launched on three Carnival Cruise Line ships as one more step toward better sustainability. The program, in collaboration with Bacardi and ecoSPIRITS, is introducing closed-loop packaging technology at sea to cut down on single-use glass consumption.

On August 29, 2023, Carnival Cruise Line announced an innovative initiative with two partners, Bacardi and ecoSPIRITS. The goal of this program is to implement closed-loop packaging programs, provisionally, on Carnival ships.

Closed-loop packaging, also called circular packaging, is a sustainable method where materials are repeatedly used within a closed system to minimize waste. Instead of being thrown away after one use, materials are collected, processed, and returned to use, creating a continuous cycle that reduces the need for new resources and lowers the environmental impact of packaging waste.

This partnership brings the alcoholic beverages firm Bacardi together with ecoSPIRITS, a company specializing in circular economy technology, to initiate a closed-loop packaging system at sea.

Photo Credit: Pavel L Photo and Video / Shutterstock

“As we continue to work towards our sustainability goals, the collaborative work of our beverage team, ecoSPIRITS and Bacardi is a great example of thinking in ways that are truly out-of-the-box, or in this case – out-of-the-bottle, to develop new partnerships and practices that further our ongoing efforts,” said Zachary Sulkes, Carnival’s senior director of beverage operations.

Together, the companies will test this program out during a three-month trial aboard three ships – Carnival CelebrationCarnival Horizon, and the Sunshine-class Carnival Sunrise

The aim of the program is to determine the viability of ecoSPIRITS’ reusable containers in serving rum to guests on Carnival vessels. The successful implementation of these containers could lead to a substantial reduction of 95% in single-use packaging. After the trial period, all parties will likely evaluate the results to get real-world data about the program’s success.

Carnival’s closed-loop packaging pilot program includes the launch of a new version of EcoSPIRITS’ closed-loop glass packaging. This new version is the ecoTOTE™ 3.0SC Cruise Edition, specifically designed for use on ships.

Bacardi ecoTOTE (Photo Credit: Carnival Cruise Line)

“Innovating in closed loop packaging has been a top priority for us for a number of years, so launching our very first ecoTOTE for BACARDĺ rum on a Carnival cruise ship and seeing the doors this trial will open, is an incredibly exciting step forward in that journey.” Rodolfo Nervi, one of Bacardi’s vice presidents, pointed out.

BACARDĺ Superior rum was chosen for this pilot because it’s extremely popular across the entire fleet and is a key ingredient in many cocktails.

Each ecoTOTE used should replace about four bottles of rum. These totes are then cleaned and refilled rougly 100 times, creating a self-contained, eco-friendly process. This will mean far fewer glass bottles used overall.

This pilot program will also see a donation for every ecoTOTE delivered. These donations will go toward the removal of two pounds of glass, single-use plastics, and other human rubbish from the oceans.

Carnival has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to protecting the environment through recycling. Every vessel in the fleet has a recycling center for glass, paper, and plastic. In 2022, the company processed a whopping 11 million pounds of recyclable items, and also deployed bio-digesters across the fleet to reduce food waste.

Photo Courtesy: Carnival Cruise Line

Furthermore, in 2019, the cruise line announced that it would implement substantial environmental changes across the entire fleet. These changes included introducing glass and reusable plastic tumblers for beverages, along with paper cups for hot to-go drinks.

Body wash and shampoo distribution pumps were introduced instead of bottles in staterooms, suites, and on-board spas. Drinking straws were largely eliminated, and reusable stainless-steel stirrers replaced wooden coffee stirrers.

The company also worked hard to get rid of individually wrapped serving items used for condiments and sugar, replacing them with more eco-conscious-containing alternatives.

The sustainability changes that Carnival Cruise Line has put into practice in the past, along with innovative programs like the Bacardi and ecoSPIRITS circular packaging pilot program, demonstrate the company’s commitment to protecting the marine environment.

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