New Hampshire steamship company cuts waste by 70 percent

| September 4, 2013

The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company in Portsmouth, NH,  has increased its efforts to stay sustainable and enhanced its green reputation by introducing a new recycling policy and cutting its waste stream by 70 percent.

Thomas Laighton

The Victorian style cruise ship, Thomas Laighton. From Isle of Shoals.

Waste generation on cruise ships is high

Although cruise ships comprise under 1% of the global merchant fleet, it is estimated that they are responsible for a quarter of all waste generated by merchant vessels. Every day, an average cruise ship passenger will generate two pounds of dry trash and dispose of two cans and two bottles. More than half of the waste generated on board is packaging.

Since the cruises aboard the company’s Victorian-style cruise ship M/V Thomas Laighton usually last three hours in area waters, less waste is generated when compared to bigger ships. Still, the company has taken some simple steps that have reduced its solid waste generation.

When the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company’s trash and recycling hauler started accepting plastic cups, the company changed its recycling policy. Now plastic cups are recycled in addition to cardboard, cans, and bottles, and every trash can has a recycling bin next to it.

According to the company’s marketing manager, Rich Ryzman, this new recycling policy has been well received by the customers. “Everything they buy off our ship can be recycled — straws, cups, plastic ramekins. Anything that is plastic can be recycled,” he said.

Plastic waste

Passengers generate a huge amount of trash on ships. From The Daily Galaxy.

The crew members help customers comply by assisting them in discarding various items into the proper containers and by encouraging them to reuse cups when drinking draft beer. Customer acceptance of the recycling program has greatly reduced the use of multiple trash bins, and the company has also been able to get rid of its dumpster.

Biodiesel helps reduce emissions

The shipping company’s recycling efforts are not limited to plastic. The cruise ship runs on biodiesel it buys from Simply Green. After the EPA mandated removal of sulphate from fuel in 2007, diesel fuel lubricity suffered. Biodiesel is an effective alternative, and boats often have better performance as a result.

The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company also seems to have had a positive experience with biodiesel.”From the outside, we look like a gas-guzzling party boat,” Ryzman said. “People have this misconception. They think we use these massive engines that burn a lot of fuel. But we actually spend less money on gas per person than a smaller vessel would because of the biodiesel. Because we are primarily touring boats, we don’t drive fast — when we are going full bore, it’s only 10 knots — so we don’t use a lot of fuel and we get help from the tides and currents.”

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Category: Plastic, Recycling programs

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