AECO’S Clean Seas Project

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) is working to combat marine plastic pollution. As part of these efforts, AECO will work to drastically cut back on single-use plastics on Arctic expedition cruise vessels, as well as enhance cruise passengers’ involvement in regular beach cleanups. AECO will also focus on educating passengers, staff and the public on what can be done to prevent marine plastic pollution.

Reduction of single-use plastics

AECO is working to reduce the use of single use-plastics and other disposable items on vessels.  The first step is to assess the amount of single-use items that are currently in use on board. AECO is researching more sustainable alternatives and solutions that can be implemented on ships.

Cleanup efforts

Members of AECO have been involved in beach cleanups in the Arctic for almost two decades. Through AECO’s Clean Seas Project, AECO will strengthen these efforts.

AECO’s Cleanup Guidelines 2018

AECO’s Cleanup Guidelines provides useful information about Clean up Svalbard and what you can do to help clean Arctic beaches.

Clean Up Svalbard reporting form

Clean Up Svalbard is a coastal cleanup project organised by the Governor of Svalbard. AECO and the Governor of Svalbard are collaborating to enhance efforts and build knowledge and statistics on garbage, distribution and cleaning efforts. Reporting is part of this collaboration. If you carry out beach cleanups in Svalbard, you are kindly asked to fill out and return this reporting form to: and cc: Thank you for contributing to a cleaner environment.

Clean Up Svalbard reporting form 2018 (Excel)  

Photo: Jonathan R. Green, G Adventures
Photo: Pierre Malan, Noble Caledonia
Photo: Sarah Auffret, AECO







Information and education

AECO has signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and will work with UN Environment on the prevention and reduction of marine litter. AECO will contribute to #CleanSeas, a UN-led campaign to combat marine plastic pollution.

Learn more

If you would like to learn more about AECO’s Clean Seas Project and other activities, you can sign up for our newsletter and follow us on social media (FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn).

Available speakers

AECO would like to share our experience and insight in how the private sector can contribute to combating marine plastic pollution. AECO is available to participate in relevant conferences and events as a speaker, panelist and participant. A list of AECO spokespeople can be found here.

Sharing of best practices

AECO is working to collect, systematize and share best practices to help reduce plastics consumption on expedition cruise ships. Results of this work will be published in due time.

External resources

Below is a collection of useful links on the topic of marine plastic pollution.

UN Environment Clean Seas campaign 

UNEP Report : Single-use plastics: a Road Map for Sustainability

UNEP Report: Biodegradable Plastics & Marine Litter

UNEP Report: Exploring the Potential for Adopting Alternative Materials to Reduce Marine Plastic Litter

GRID Arendal Marine Litter Vital Graphics

Norwegian Polar Institute report Plastic in the European Arctic

Alfred Wegener Institute Map of Litter distribution

Wageningen University & Research Arctic Marine Litter Project 

Get involved

If you plan to visit the Arctic you can contribute to Clean Seas efforts by choosing an operator that is a member of AECO. You can be part of the movement by getting involved in beach cleanups where you live. You can even organize a small scale cleanup with your friends and family or go plogging. Check out these websites for inspiration and information about cleanups in near you: (Canada)