Hurtigruten Announces Single-Use Plastics Ban by Summer 2018

The two new ships for Hurtigruten (Artist impression courtesy Kleven)Hurtigruten has announced that it will ban all unnecessary single-use plastic as of July 2, 2018 including the removal of plastic straws, drink mixers, plastic glasses, coffee lids, and plastic bags from all Hurtigruten ships. The goal is to become the world’s first plastic-free shipping company.

“At Hurtigruten, we have focused on the problem with plastic pollution for years. There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans. But it’s time to take action. By getting rid of single-use plastic on board all our ships already by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow. It is possible to act now. The oceans do not deserve more hesitation,” says Hurtigruten CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

Hurtigruten is the world leader in exploration travel and the world’s biggest expedition cruise line. The company’s single-use plastic ban comes just a few days after announcing the largest environmental upgrade in Hurtigruten’s 125-year history. Up to nine of Hurtigruten’s ships will be retrofitted to LNG and battery propulsion.

Hurtigruten’s message is crystal-clear: All unnecessary single-use plastic will be removed company-wide by July 2, 2018. This means that plastic straws will be replaced by metal straws and plastic stirrers will no longer be used, nor will plastic glasses wrapped in plastic, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, plastic lids on coffee cups, plastic toothpicks, plastic aprons, single-use packaging of butter and all other single-use plastic items that Hurtigruten’s 400,000 guests and 2,500 employees encounter on a day-to-day basis.

“Every year, Hurtigruten guests and employees clean tons of plastic from beaches in the areas we operate. We witness the plastic pollution problem on a daily basis and need to take action. Operating in pristine areas as we do, comes with a responsibility,” Skjeldam adds.

Currently, 15 metric tons of plastic end up in the world oceans every minute of the day. If the trend continues, this number will double in the next ten years, and by 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

“Plastic pollution is the single biggest threat to our oceans. Hurtigruten operates in some of the most vulnerable areas in the world. This means that we carry a special responsibility to protect these areas for the local population and future generations of explorers,” Skjeldam says.

Hurtigruten’s single-use plastics ban will be effective across its entire fleet of custom-built expedition vessels – both operating on the legendary Norwegian Coastal route, as well as expedition cruises in Antarctica and Arctic waters. The single-use plastic ban will also be imposed on the hotels, restaurants and other establishments of Hurtigruten’s land-based operations on Svalbard, operated by its fully owned subsidiary Hurtigruten Svalbard.

In addition to the internal plastic ban, Hurtigruten is challenging all its suppliers to reduce or stop the use of plastic.

“No one can win the war on plastic alone without allies. This is why we implement high demands on our suppliers. Our goal is to become the world’s first plastic-free first shipping company. This is our first step,” Skjeldam says.

Examples of Hurtigruten’s plastic ban by the numbers:

Straws in bars and restaurants: Annual consumption: 960,000 pieces Weight: approx. 2,800 kg (6,200 lbs.)

Plastic glasses: Annual consumption: 390,000 pieces Weight: approx. 5,000 kg (11,000 lbs.)

Single-use packages of butter: Annual consumption: 826,000 pieces Weight: approx. 826 kg (1,800 lbs.)

Plastic aprons: Weight: 4,300 kg (9,500 lbs.)

(Hurtigruten)

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