In their 2021 Sustainability Report, Carnival Corp & plc describe how they have installed nearly 600 food waste biodigesters across nine of their major cruise line brands.
Food waste biodigesters are machines that digest food waste. These machines are usually installed in the galley and reduce the expense, inconvenience, mess, and carbon footprint of disposing of food waste that would otherwise be offloaded with a tender. Power Knot has eight different sizes that digest from 10 kg (20 lb) per day to 3000 kg (6600 lb) per day of food waste.
The LFC biodigester’s inherent design allows for only the digestion of organic material and prevents accidental plastic pollution. Any non-organics that end up in the machine will not enter the waste stream. Instead, it will remain trapped in the machine until a trained operator removes it.
In June 2022, Holland America’s Corp. Fleet Environmental Compliance Manager, Sanjay Bhatt, visited Power Knot’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California to receive technical training on the LFC biodigester.
We took the opportunity to learn from Sanjay about the use of biodigesters on cruise ships.
Why should cruise ships care about food waste?
Food waste directly impacts costs. More food waste typically means more food costs. If your ship can control the amount of food waste being wasted, it will directly lead to a cost reduction of food being purchased and waste management costs.
How can ship operators segregate food waste?
Ship operators should focus on separating food waste by hard or soft type. Soft foods are what humans can eat: meat off a bone, corn, and fruits. Hard foods are items that humans cannot eat such as bones, and the pits of a fruit.
How do biodigester help cruise ships and operators with food waste management?
Proper segregation of waste streams is extremely important — otherwise, it can easily lead to environmental violations. If there is no segregation, things such as plastics can enter waste that are processed and offboarded. This can lead to accidental plastics in the ocean and damage marine life.
Biodigesters only take soft foods and help trap any accidentally hard foods in the waste stream. They help automate the process.
What are some best practices that cruise ships should implement in terms of systems of checks?
Proper segregation of waste, monitoring waste streams, and proactively reacting to make quick, incremental changes are vital parts of the systems of checks.
Do data analytics play a vital role in managing food waste?
Data analytics are absolutely essential to optimization. Holland America utilizes waste data analytics to improve operations. We calculate the total amount of food waste, divide it by the total number of people on board (including staff and guests), and share this information across teams.
The chefs use this data to understand discrepancies in the amount of food waste being generated and continually reduce food waste.
What are the steps for implementing a biodigester? Does it run into any technical, culture, or educational checkpoints?
Education is by far the most important step. There needs to be proper training of the staff that will interact with the biodigester. To correctly conduct procedures, the staff must understand the importance of the biodigester, how it helps with environmental protection, and why segregation of food waste is important.
Contact Power Knot Ocean to learn more about how the LFC biodigester is the premier food waste solution for cruise ships, yachts, and other maritime vessels.