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Hurtigruten bans single-use plastic by this summer

The world’s largest expedition cruise line, Norway-headed Hurtigruten AS has announced an all out ban of all "unnecessary" single-use plastic items. Everything from plastic straws, drink mixers, plastic cups, coffee lids and plastic bags will be removed from all Hurtigruten ships by July 2, 2018, to become the world's first plastic free shipping company."There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans. But it’s time to take action," says Daniel Skjeldam, CEO, Hurtigruten.

Close one million plastic straws a year are among the single-use plastic items, shown by Hotel Manager Kristian Skar, that will be removed from all Hurtigruten ships by July 2, 2018 (photo courtesy Ørjan Bertelsen/Hurtigruten).

Hurtigruten is a world leader in exploration travel, and the world’s biggest expedition cruise line. The message is crystal-clear: All unnecessary single-use plastic will be removed company-wide by July 2, 2018.

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 ships already by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow. It is possible to act now, and the oceans does not deserve more hesitation, said Daniel Skjeldam CEO, Hurtigruten.

This means that plastic straws are replaced by metal straws, stir pins will no longer be used – the same with plastic cups 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 cleans tonnes 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 said.

According to the company a “mind-boggling” 15  tonnes of plastic ends up in the world’s oceans every minute of the day. If the trend continues, this number will double in the next 10 years. This means that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans.

“We carry a responsibility”

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 ban will be effective across its entire fleet of custom build expedition vessels – both operating on the legendary Norwegian Coastal Route, as well as expedition cruises from pole to pole. 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 and cut 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 said.

Hurtigruten’s single use plastic ban comes just days after announcing the largest environmental upgrade in the company’s 125 years of history. Up to nine of Hurtigruten’s ships will be retrofitted to liquefied natural gas (LNG) – and battery propulsion. Vessels operating on the Norwegian coast will also be readied for shore power.

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