How Waste Is Dealt With On The World’s Largest Cruise Ship

How Waste Is Dealt With On The World’s Largest Cruise Ship

This cruise ship is
basically a floating city. And just like in a normal city, all its residents produce a lot of trash. But there aren’t any garbage trucks here to scoop it up and take it away. We’re at sea, obviously. And since waste can’t and shouldn’t just be dumped in the ocean, well, what do cruise
ships do with all of it? This is something the industry’s been dealing with for years. Reporter: Carnival Cruise
Line is coming clean about polluting oceans. Narrator: Princess Cruises
was fined $40 million in 2016 for illegal dumping, and Carnival got hit with
a $20 million fine in 2019 for disposing of plastic
waste in the ocean. Stewart Chiron: Carnival
Corporation’s issues really brought the need
for better technology so that these ships can
operate more efficiently. Narrator: Cruise lines have
been working on systems to purify water and deal
with waste inside ships. Chiron: Up until now, these types of options weren’t available. Narrator: All this new tech was built into Royal Caribbean’s
largest and newest ship, Symphony of the Seas. The company says it’s
a zero-landfill ship, which means it uses
everything from recycling to water filtration to
deal with its own waste. And this guy’s in charge of making sure no single water bottle is unaccounted for. Alex Mago: Welcome to
waste and recycling center. Narrator: We’re down on deck two, a secret, crew-only area of the ship. Crew members check all
the ship’s trash cans for recyclables and bring them down here for Alex’s team to handle. Despite being the only waste facility on this massive ship,
it’s surprisingly quiet. Alex said the busiest
time is in the morning, when things are unpackaged for the day. Mago: This is the waste
streams that we have. Every waste stream has its
own way of handling it. Narrator: There are
separate teams to deal with each incoming recyclable: glass, cardboard, plastic, and metal. Mago: This is our incinerator room. So, we have two incinerators, one and two. This area is manned 24 hours a day. We have 10 crew members
who are working here, five in the morning and
five in the evening. Narrator: Crew members
separate glass into colors: green, brown, and white. [glass clinking] Mago: This is the byproduct of it after we crush it. Narrator: They can process upwards of 13,000 pounds of glass for a weeklong cruise. All the small glass
pieces are stored in bins until the ship docks. Plastic goes through
this massive compactor. Even though the ship’s
gotten rid of plastic straws, it still relies on bottled water because, for health and safety reasons, no cruise ship is allowed
to have water fountains. So, every week, they crush about 528 gallons of water bottles. Mago: We are compacting
the cardboard over there. Narrator: Throughout the
day, cardboard is stacked up in this machine, called a baler. Once it’s full, it’s all
compressed into bundles. And used aluminum cans, well, they’re sent through this baler. The machine squeezes
them down into big cubes, which are then stored in a fridge just off the waste room. Mago: This area is actually for the items that can produce smell, the garbage. Narrator: And the smell
could get pretty bad. The waste is stored for up
to seven days at a time, until the ship docks back in Miami, where all the plastic, aluminum, paper, and glass go to recycling
partner facilities. In 2018, Royal Caribbean recycled 43.7 million pounds of waste. And any rebates earned from
these recycling programs go back to the employee retirement fund. The cruise line is hoping that it’s a nice incentive for employees
to bring recycling down from their own crew cabins. So, what about things
that can’t get recycled? For example, food. Every week, the ship loads up 600,000 pounds of provisions. But for the food that’s not eaten, well, the company had to figure out how to get rid of all of that, too. Each one of the ship’s restaurants and 36 kitchens has its own suction drain. Chefs and waiters keep food
scraps in separate buckets. Then, once they’ve gotten enough, they place it all in this special drain. All the food waste ends up in one big pipe that runs through the entire ship. And that pipe leads to what’s known as the hydro-processor. Mago: Those pipes over there, so, this is where the food waste is passing through. This is being processed through here. Narrator: This machine
has a bunch of tiny layers of mesh to break down the food. Mago: It’s being stored in our tank. We have two tanks of
comminuted food waste. Narrator: And the final step? Incineration. Now, let’s talk about your toilet waste. Yep, we’re gonna go there. It’s all a part of the
water-treatment system on board, controlled from the engineering room. Narrator: Water is divided
into two categories: gray water, from sinks,
laundries, and drains, and black water. That includes everything from the galleys and your toilets, including your urine. Narrator: The purification
system purifies the water to a point above the US federal standard, which is almost safe to drink. Narrator: Anything that can’t be recycled or reused on board goes to what’s known as a waste-to-energy facility. Now, we didn’t get to
see it for ourselves, but Royal Caribbean said “heat or gas from the waste is collected and converted to energy.” Chiron: It’s definitely
within their best interests to be the most environmentally friendly, because it significantly can
reduce the waste on board, the weight that they have
to carry, the fuel usage, and it reduces their
operational expenses as well. Narrator: And after one week at sea, the recycling gets cleared out, incoming provisions are brought on board, and the crew prepares the ship to start the process all over again.


  1. Why can't they throw the food after recycling it in the ocean i m pretty sure they can feed millions of fish everyday

  2. Its sad to know how long and how much trash has been going into the ocean all these past times. We as humans are pretty disgusting creatures.

  3. Hmm? What happens to those millions of dollars collected through the fines? I doubt anyone ever goes out to open sea and cleans of the waste thrown overboard…

  4. In the ocean. I have video about three in the morning of them dumping trash can after trash can off the back of the ship

  5. I've been on a cruise ship and they dump in the ocean at about 2 am to 3 am so no one sees them doing it. I personally watched them dump garbage in the ocean twice.

  6. Filipino crew left onboard the ships while passengers quarantined. 😢 wow you can see how easily Coronavirus is spread through the ship.

  7. How Waste is Dealt with on a Cruise Ship
    Corona Virus Victim in Quarantine on the Princess Cruise: Sweats

  8. If you present this business model to me: the ship needed, the food needed, the waste problem… I would not invest a penny

  9. They should put the food waste in a giant compost bin or compost area and then turn it into Natural Fertilizers!

  10. Yes of course they dump it. It's always been legal. U cant do it unless ur far enough from a coast. How dumbshit are people to not know that??

  11. All of the energy used to grow, package, prepare and cook all that food only to use more energy to process it as waste.

  12. Why can't cruise ships shred and dump food waste into the ocean. The material waste (cans, bottles, plastics, metals etc.) they can crush and return to port for waste management.

  13. Stop the gluttony and stop going disgusting cruises which are inhumane to employees, horrible on the environment, and dangerous to passengers both legal and health wise.

  14. Have a pig farm on the lower decks, Pigs will eat everything.. they are our waste treatment plants on 4 legs and taste Amazing… Mmmmmm Bacon!

  15. We should try and use cruises as an example for how to deal with waste on land. I’d imagine it’s easier to track waste on a confined facility like a cruise.

  16. They dump it in the ocean !!! Polluting the earth killing sea life , all because of greed and more money .
    Royal Caribbean
    Lying about it is useless, the proof is on the beach’s…
    Needs to stop ,
    But it probably won’t
    Based on the the huge misconception
    More money
    More money
    More money

    Same reason most of humanity is pissed off all the time .
    Can’t get enough money and stuff , and probably never will.
    The Rat Race is going strong
    People’s minds are to far gone ….

  17. Cruise ships:. 1. Waste food. 2. Illegally dump in the ocean. 3. Get people very sick. 4. Have bad statics for tipping/crashing/stinking. We should not have cruise ships if they are so negative. Oh and they harbor rats

  18. There is no retirement fund 😂😂😂😂, doctors on this ship used to treat cattle before, they google symptoms

  19. No cruise ship is allowed to have water fountains. That is a lie! I have been on many with water fountains!

  20. On the rhapsody of the seas I was told they took all there leftover food and then put it in the ocean for the fish.

  21. I recall when I was a Marine on a naval ship. All trash went overboard in the ocean. That included aircraft carriers trash and the rest.

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