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The buffet runner system onboard of the AIDA

Waste Management

Systematic waste management in line with the international MARPOL requirements and our own internal standards as part of the Environmental Compliance Plan, the avoidance of plastic and single-use products and the continuous reduction of our use of resources such as paper and water and of food waste are common practice at AIDA.

Disposal facilities in the individual ports are thoroughly investigated as early as the route planning stage. The waste management process for each voyage is planned in such a way that we make use of the most environmentally friendly disposal methods available.

Waste prevention

Our aim is continuously to reduce our consumption of resources and waste generation. We have proved that even seemingly small measures can have a significant impact.

Preventing food waste

A wide array of culinary offers to choose from is an Import component of any cruise vacation. Meals are freshly and sustainably prepared on board each AIDA ship, not just for our guests but for our crews as well. AIDA goes to considerable lengths to ensure that, wherever possible, only unprocessed foodstuffs are used in the kitchens and no endangered species find their way onto the menus. Another reason why we prefer fresh and unprocessed foodstuffs over convenience is that it allows us to avoid a huge quantity of packaging waste. We handle all our foodstuffs responsibly and in line with the strictest hygiene regulations laid out in the American VSP Standards, and employ a wide range of measures in order to avoid unnecessary food wastage.

We manage to reduce the amount of food wastage on board every year thanks to many initiatives both large and small. Many of the dishes offered in the buffet restaurants are prepared freshly and to order in the so-called live cooking stations in sight of the guests.

The “cook and chill” system has been used in AIDA’s kitchens ever since the first AIDA ship entered service more than 20 years ago. This means that only the prepared dishes that are actually required at the buffets are delivered to them. All of the rest are kept in the refrigerators. For this to work, AIDA’s chefs continuously monitor what is on offer at the buffets. A complex repeat ordering system that has been refined over the years guarantees that every guest can enjoy the full range of culinary offerings whenever the restaurants are open.

In 2016 we introduced the so-called “buffet runner system” across the entire fleet. Our staff working in the buffet restaurants use their mobile devices to send a repeat order to the main kitchen. Only the required dishes are then prepared in the main kitchen and sent out to the buffet. The same system is also used in our crew restaurants.

Our chefs prepare many of the dishes offered at the buffets in small individual portions. If the guest enjoys a dish, they can help themselves to another one instead of letting food go to waste. Drinks at the tables are served not in bottles, but in glass carafes. Right up until the restaurants close, we do not reduce the variety of dishes offered but instead downsize the serving plates at the buffet stations in which the various dishes, fresh salads or fruits are presented. These are further effective measures that avoid unnecessary food wastage.

All waste generated on board, including food wastage, is regularly measured on the AIDA ships and measures are continuously developed and implemented to reduce these amounts.

A few years ago, together with our partner Futouris e.V. and several other companies AIDA Cruises also launched a project that focuses on the sustainable procurement and use of foodstuffs on board cruise ships. In 2016, analyses were carried out on board the AIDA fleet that looked into ways of preventing food wastage. The results were summarized in a set of guidelines that further helps the employees on board maintain a sustainable approach to using foodstuffs.

The following video explains what other measures we make use of in order to prevent food wastage: How we prevent food wastage:

Avoiding the use of plastics

Avoidance of plastic items
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Using resources carefully and sparingly has been a key pillar of our environmental management strategy all along. Reducing and, wherever possible, entirely avoiding the use of plastics is an important component of our sustainability strategy.

Wherever possible, as a matter of principle we prefer to use reusable rather than single-use products and place emphasis on waste sorting. We continuously perform fleet-wide assessments with a view to swapping single-use and plastic products for biodegradable items or reusable ones wherever possible.

Many drinks are produced directly on board AIDA’s ships, meaning they are not purchased in bottles but in special drink containers with a large volume.

There are no plastic drinking straws on board – instead we offer biodegradable straws made from starch. These are moreover only provided with cocktails or when a guest specifically asks for one, and not offered as standard with every drink.

Where it is otherwise unavoidable, disposable cutlery or wooden cocktail sticks are used. Coffee accompaniments such as biscuits are served without packaging, and instead of disposable plastic cups specialty coffees can be enjoyed from reusable takeaway cups.

There are no bin liners in the bins located in the cabins and the bathrooms. The laundry bags in the cupboards in the cabins are made from compostable starch and our guests’ freshly cleaned laundry is of course delivered to the cabins without any plastic wrapping. We switched from plastic bags to paper ones in our onboard shops back in 2013, and it goes without saying that none of our spa and cosmetic products contain any microplastics.

Furthermore, over the last few years we have replaced numerous disposable products in the kitchen area, such as tasting spoons, disposable aprons and disposable bottles, with reusable products or make do without them entirely.

For the remaining disposable products on board, such as paper napkins, we ensure that they are biodegradable wherever possible. The pulp, in other words the raw material, is made in Poland according to strict EU regulations. The material has been awarded the NORDIC SWAN LABEL (ISO 14024), which is one of the strictest environmental certificates in Europe. The napkin raw material is 100 percent compostable.

Cutting down on paper

digital photo station on AIDAnova
Digital photo station on AIDAnova

Our paper-saving measures make a further significant contribution to conserving resources, which include reducing the number of printed publications and using digital means of communication. In our company headquarters in Rostock, we only use printers that serve an entire floor, rather than individual printers. An employee must first of all confirm the print order at the machine itself in order to print a document.

AIDA supports the ‘CEOs pro Recycling Paper’ initiative. Each type of paper that we use is certified accordingly and have even been awarded the Silver ‘Cradle to Cradle’ seal.

Since 2013, we have been only been printing bills on board when they are specifically requested. On each voyage, only between 20 and 50 guests have their bills printed on board. This allows us to save on average 4,400 sheets of paper and 1,100 envelopes per voyage. This does not result in any disadvantages for our guests. They are able to view their bill at their convenience through the onboard portal and through MyAIDA or in their inbox once their voyage has come to an end. We print our cruise catalogue on PEFC-certified paper that is sourced from sustainably managed forests.

Using SignPads at check-in and when booking and organizing excursions presents the opportunity to make use of electronic signatures. This allows AIDA to reduce the number of receipts printed each year by a million.

On board all of our AIDA ships there are now digital photo stations, at which our guests can view their favorite holiday snaps, then select order their desired photos on the screen. There is therefore no longer any need to develop all photos upfront, which saves around 50 percent in paper and chemicals.

In collaboration with the online portal iKiosk, we offer our guests an exclusive selection of digital newspapers and a range of different magazines on board. We print our own onboard media, such as port information and the onboard magazine “AIDA Heute”, in small print runs and have instead expanded the range of digital information that our guests can access. As part of the re-launch of AIDA Heute, port information for our guests was incorporated into the daily onboard newspaper. This enables us to cut down further on printed products. On AIDAnova, instead of a printout in their cabin each guest can access through MyAIDA a summary of the services they have booked, such as shore excursions or spa visits, in a digital experiences overview. We are currently working to implement this system on our other ships.

Waste sorting and treatment

Systematic waste management is a permanent feature of the Carnival Group’s Environmental Compliance Plan, with which we go far beyond fulfilling the internationally enforced legal requirements of the MARPOL Convention in many areas. Our consistent compliance with all external and internal environmental standards is both the guarantee and expression of our sustainable approach.

Waste sorting on board all of the ships in the AIDA fleet has long been common practice. Metal is compressed to save space and glass is crushed. Aluminum and other metals are collected in separate containers and then sent ashore for recycling along with PET packaging and paper. Food waste is compressed and drained. The resulting substance is fully biodegradable.

We work with the best disposal companies in all of our destinations. Wherever possible, we make use of the services of certified disposal companies. This is the case in every European port. For other destinations which have not yet developed the equivalent standards, we choose the best available alternative in each case. In order to ensure waste disposal is carried out correctly, we particularly make sure we choose local waste disposal companies that are inspected by the authorities.

No matter how well our disposal system functions, it would be even better to produce as little waste as possible. This is why we consistently work to reduce our waste accumulation per person and per day and to optimize our processes.

It is our aim in the long term to create an almost complete closed-loop recycling solution, which would produce next to no waste.

Waste sorting and treatment
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