Hurtigruten to ban all single-use plastic products

Hurtigruten has announced it will stop using what it calls unnecessary single-use plastic items as of July 2.  Everything from plastic straws, drink mixers, plastic cups, coffee lids and plastic bags will be removed from all the ships. The goal is to become the first plastic-free shipping company in the world.

“At Hurtigruten, we have focused on the problem with plastic pollution for years,” said CEO Daniel Skjeldam.

“There is a lot of talk about the impact plastic has on our oceans. But it’s time to take action. By getting rid of single use plastic on board all ships already by this summer, we will hopefully get others to follow. It is possible to act now, and the oceans does not deserve more hesitation.”

Plastic straws will be replaced by metal straws, stir pins will no longer be used – the same with plastic cups wrapped in plastic, plastic cutlery, plastic bags, plastic lids on coffee cups, plastic toothpicks, plastic aprons, single-use packaging of butter and all other single-use plastic items that Hurtigruten’s 400,000 guests and 2,500 employees encounter on a day to day basis, the company said in a press release.

“Every year, Hurtigruten guests and employees cleans tons of plastic from beaches in the areas we operate. We witness the plastic pollution problem on a daily basis, and need to take action. Operating in pristine areas as we do, comes with a responsibility,” Skjeldam added.

“It is mind-boggling that 15 metric tons of plastic ends up in the world's oceans every minute of the day. If the trend continues, the number will double in the next 10 years. This means that by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans,” he said.

“Plastic pollution is the single biggest threat to our oceans,” Skjeldma continued. “Hurtigruten operates in some of the most vulnerable areas in the world. This means that we carry a special responsibility to protect these areas for the local population and future generations of explorers.”

Hurtigruten’s single use plastics ban will be effective across its entire fleet of custom built expedition vessels – both operating on the Norwegian Coastal Route, as well as expedition cruises from pole to pole.

The single-use plastic ban will also be imposed on the hotels, restaurants and other establishments of Hurtigruten’s land based operations on Svalbard, operated by its fully owned subsidiary Hurtigruten Svalbard.

In addition to the internal plastic ban, Skjeldam said Hurtigruten is challenging all its suppliers to reduce and cut the use of plastic.