Sustainable Cruise - Prototypes and approaches for raising the waste hierarchy on board and certifying it

Reference: LIFE10 ENV/IT/000367 | Acronym: Sustainable Cruise



According to the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, waste prevention should be the first priority of waste management, while re-use and material recycling should be preferred to energy recovery from waste. A cruise ship is like a small town and, given the degree of luxury afforded passengers on cruise ships, per capita waste production is even higher. The amount of waste generated is 70 times more than a typical cargo ship. Cruise ships represent less than 1% of the global merchant fleet yet it has been estimated that they are responsible for 25% of all waste generated by merchant vessels. In accordance with EU Directive 2000/59, Article 4(2), it is clear that any home port or port of call for cruise ships should provide adequate waste management facilities to cope with the volume of waste generated by these vessels. Nonetheless, onboard and onshore waste management has never been tackled from a recycling perspective, nor is it regulated by an EU Directive or national laws, and an integration of the Kyoto requirements in the marine sector is still missing.


The Sustainable Cruise project aims to demonstrate the potential for waste prevention, recovery and recycling on a cruise ship, focusing on the detection, testing, evaluation and dissemination of best available techniques and approaches for three on-board waste streams: (i) packaging; (ii) biodegradable waste; and (iii) paper; and three horizontal issues: (i) energy efficiency; (ii) onshore rubbish disposal; and (iii) normative consistency and pre-certification.

The project will identify and assess the environmental impacts (through a lifecycle assessment - LCA - methodology) and the technical and economic viability of the large-scale introduction of promising solutions for the prevention, recovery and recycling of onboard packaging, biodegradable and paper waste. The project will also draft first suggestions for a standardised approach to waste management on-board, applying for the first time the Kyoto requirements in the marine sector. The project will work with this approach in order to test advanced solutions for waste management and provide guidelines for a standard process. It will provide guidelines for an advanced certification scheme and assess some additional criteria in order to verify the possibility of converting CO2 emissions reductions into tradeable carbon credits.

Expected results:

  • Two pilot plants (one on board, one in a laboratory) to prototype and demonstrate an innovative methodology to convert biodegradable waste into useable products;
  • An annual database update of a map of ports' waste disposal capacity, recovery technology, waste stream features, costs and so on;
  • A computational study of CO2 emissions reductions from energy efficiency measures in waste management;
  • A feasibility analysis of VER (Verified Emission Reductions) credit generation;
  • A new scheme for optimising waste treatment onboard;
  • A set of guidelines for the application and certification of the proposed new technologies and management; and
  • A set of guidelines for waste prevention, recovery and recycling.


Reference: LIFE10 ENV/IT/000367
Acronym: Sustainable Cruise
Start Date: 01/09/2011
End Date: 30/06/2014
Total Eligible Budget: 2,629,246 €
EU Contribution: 1,314,623 €
Project Location:


Coordinating Beneficiary: Costa Crociere SpA
Legal Status: PRIVATE
Address: Piazza Piccapietra 48, 16121, Genova, Italia
Contact Person: Stefania LALLAI
Email: Send Email

LIFE Project Map



  • Waste reduction - Raw material saving


  • waste management
  • tourism
  • navigation
  • life-cycle management


Name Type
Costa Crociere SpA Coordinator
Ce.Si.S.P (Centre for the Development of Products Sustainability), Italy Participant
MedCruise (Association of Mediterranean Cruise Ports), Italy Participant
VOMM Impianti e Processi SpA, Italy Participant
Design Innovation Srl, Italy Participant
Rina Services SpA, Italy Participant
Contento Trade Srl, Italy Participant