On Earth Day and every day, there are ways everyone can play a part in protecting the earth and our communities that call it home. From learning how to compost to reducing single-use plastics and the use of paper, we can start helping with these easy ideas—some might even turn into new hobbies and year-round habits.
Royal Caribbean has dedicated decades to caring for the oceans and the destinations it visits. As part of the Save the Waves program, there are sustainability practices in action across our ships and private destinations, like Perfect Day at CocoCay, whether it’s water conservation efforts or using advanced technology to reduce energy use.
Every bit helps, and the simple eco actions that kids and adults alike can try are fun, too.
Here are nine ways you can join in on Earth Day and any day of the year:
1. Reduce single-use plastic: The prevalence of plastic can make this practice tricky, but it’s something we can work toward. At Royal Caribbean, we’re reducing single-use plastic—like straws, plastic bags, water bottles, stirrers and picks—on ships and our private destinations. Instead, we’re using more reusable silverware and glassware at restaurants.
One of the ways to help reduce plastic waste at home, in the long run, is to invest in quality, reusable replacements for everyday items, like shopping bags, water bottles and Tupperware.
2. Avoid paper piling up: For bills and bank statements, you may be able to easily switch to paperless billing. You can also use cloth napkins instead of those made of paper and repurpose torn clothing into cleaning rags to use in place of paper towels.
3. Revamp your recycling: If you do buy plastic items, aim to buy the most recyclable types. It’s as easy as 1, 2…5; just look for the number inside the recycling sign and opt for types 1, 2 and 5. Also, choose aluminum if possible, a material that’s easier to recycle than plastic.
Our Save the Waves program started as a recycling initiative on board about 30 years ago. It has since evolved to include many other companywide initiatives, such as using energy-efficient appliances and LED lights to use less energy and conserving water by producing an average of 90% of the freshwater used by our ships and our private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, in The Bahamas.
Today, each ship and our private island has an Environmental Officer on staff. They, along with their team and all crew members, make sure that every sustainability practice is carried out.
4. Zero-carbon outdoor fun: Of course, a great option is simply going outside. Biking, hiking, kayaking and going for nature walks are all great choices. On a cruise, you can run a few laps around the onboard jogging track or enjoy a stroll through Central Park, an open-air neighborhood with more than 20,000 real plants on ships like Symphony and Wonder of the Seas.
Pro tip: At several of the destinations you can visit on a cruise, you’ll find many of Royal Caribbean’s Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)-certified excursions—2,000 in total. Highlights include whale-watching in Alaska and snorkeling in Cozumel, Mexico.
5. Choose a green energy supplier: For a few dollars more each month, Americans can support renewable energy by choosing how to “power” their home. That system will likely use renewable energy certificates, which represent a certain amount of power supplied to the energy grid from clean sources like wind and solar. You’ll still be encouraging the growth of the renewable energy industry, even if it may not be used in your home specifically.
Royal Caribbean ships are equipped with a range of sustainable features, such as energy-efficient appliances and LED lights that use less energy. Our new ship, Icon of the Seas, which sets sail in fall 2023, will be the first in our lineup to be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG). LNG is considered the cleanest-burning fossil fuel available to cruise ships.
6. Consider food choices: Fruits, veggies, grains, dairy, meat and seafood all use energy and resources. And when they’re not eaten, they go to landfills and create methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. You can cut down on food waste by getting creative with cooking leftovers, as well as freezing, sharing and repurposing ingredients.
7. Repurpose unused food: Try repurposing veggie scraps to grow new food—you can use lettuce, onions, celery and even pineapples! Also, there’s always composting, the earth-friendly standby for fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags, coffee grounds and more.
8. Giving: For donations, consider giving to your favorite environmentally friendly organizations. Groups like The Canopy Project, which focuses on reforestation in disadvantaged communities, for example, or World Wildlife Fund (WWF), one of our partners.
9. Digital learning: Have fun with online learning. WWF’s Wild Classroom offers toolkits to help teach kids about their favorite creatures, as well as virtual reality voyages that use 360-degree images to highlight national marine sanctuaries around the country.
To see some of Royal Caribbean’s sustainability efforts for yourself, book a Royal Caribbean cruise to destinations around the world here.