(Gray News) – Say goodbye to straws, umbrellas and olive picks in your drinks on Carnival.
The world’s largest cruise line announced a sustainability initiative on Monday that will make those items a thing of the past by the end of the year.
“Over the next few months, you may notice changes to some of our product offerings as we move to reduce single-use plastic and eliminate certain other items that are difficult to recycle or separate from food waste,” Carnival said in a statement.
Going away will be:
- Drinking straws, unless asked for. Frozen drinks will have edible straws.
- Decorative food items like steak temperature markers, toothpicks, umbrellas, stir sticks and olive picks.
- Individual serving items like foil-wrapped butter pats, salad dressing, cereal boxes and sugar.
- All cold beverages will be served in glass or reusable plastic tumblers.
- Hot to-go drinks will be served in paper cups with paper lids.
- Wooden coffee stirrers will be replaced with stainless steel ones which will be sanitized and reused.
- Shampoo and body wash will be distributed in pumps, not small, personal bottles.
Carnival says some of these changes are already underway, but many more will come by the end of 2019.
“It’s important for you to know that these changes are focused on our being better environmental stewards – not cutting costs – as many of these changes actually increase our cost and the manpower required to execute them,” the company said.
The single-use initiative comes as Carnival Corp. reached a tentative settlement with federal prosecutors in which the cruise line agreed to pay $20 million in fines for some of its ships continuing to pollute the oceans despite promising years ago to stop, the Associated Press reported.
The Carnival acknowledged in court documents Monday it violated terms of probation from a 2016 criminal conviction for discharging oily waste from its Princess Cruise Lines ships and covering it up. Carnival paid a $40 million fine and was put on five years’ probation.
In the new documents, Princess "admits that it committed the violations" outlined earlier this year by prosecutors. These include dumping "gray water" in prohibited places such as the Bahamas and knowingly allowing plastic to be discharged along with food waste, which poses a severe threat to marine life.
The proposed settlement was signed by Carnival Chairman Micky Arison, a billionaire who also owns the Miami Heat.
Senior U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz scheduled a hearing later Monday on whether to accept the agreement. Seitz previously threatened to bar Carnival from docking at U.S. ports because of the violations.
Miami-based Carnival operates nine cruise brands and 105 ships worldwide.
Under the proposed settlement, Carnival promised there would be additional audits to check for violations, a restructuring of the company's compliance and training programs, a better system for reporting environmental violations to state and federal agencies and better waste management practices.
The agreement also would set Sept. 13 and Oct. 9 deadlines to create an improved compliance plan and make other changes, subject to fines of $1 million per day if those deadlines are not met.
Other proposed changes include a reduction by Carnival in the use of single-use plastic items across its entire fleet and creation of “tiger teams” meant to make improvements in the ships’ food and beverage systems and how waste is handled at sea.