Zoos and aquariums have been celebrating Plastic Free July 2019 with educational exhibits, pledges and new plastic reduction initiatives.
Zoos and aquariums have large number of visitors each day and have a unique opportunity to engage people in-person around reducing their plastic use. Many have come up with creative ways to do this with signage and installations.
Brooklands Zoo in New Zealand is encouraging their visitors to refuse to use plastic by showing people some of plastic-free alternatives they can use in everyday life to reduce their waste.
ZAA subscriber in New Caledonia, Parc Zoologique et Forestier Michel Corbasson have also set up an installation for Plastic Free July. The import of single use plastics will be soon be banned in
New Caledonia, whose coral reef were declared as World Heritage twelve years ago. The Park are raising local awareness about the importance of this ban, ocean pollution by plastics and the impact on New Caledonia’s coral reef.
In Sydney, SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium replaced a tank of jellyfish, with plastic that was collected from Sydney Harbour and revealed it to stunned guests to raise awareness of the plastic free movement and showcase the negative impact of plastic pollution
“A plastic bag could easily be mistaken for a jellyfish – and this happens to be a turtle’s favourite food. For the month of July, we’re displaying rubbish collected from Sydney Harbour in one of the
jellyfish tanks at SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium so that our guests can see first-hand how a turtle couldmistake this for food,” said Chris brown, Head of Curatorial.
SEA LIFE Sydney is also helping guests reduce their plastic use during the month of July by offering a free coffee to all guests that have their own reusable coffee cup with them.
Penguins, Elephants, Kangaroos, Meerkats & Gibbons were among the variety of animals that vocalised with delight, jumped for joy and gathered together with glee as zookeepers at Zoos Victoria blew bubbles to mark the start of Plastic Free July.
The bubbly fun aims to raise awareness about Zoos Victoria’s conservation program Bubbles not Balloons, which asks the public to replace outdoor balloons, which is the deadliest type of plastic for Australian sea birds, with wildlife-friendly alternatives.
Other zoos have taken Plastic Free July as an opportunity to advance their sustainability initiatives at their business. The National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra marked the event by cutting down their single-use plastics even further. While they already use bio-pack cups, paper straws, paper plates, etc.,
their keepers are now also using landfill-biodegradable bags for daily operations.
Taronga Conservation Society have taken some bold steps to eliminate single-use plastics across both their zoos. They have removed plastic items such as food containers, plastic cutlery, bags, straws, coffee cups, sauce sachets, soft drinks, PET bottles and balloons.
In total, they have recycled over 2 million containers to date through onsite ‘Return and Earn‘ reverse vending machines allowing guests and the local community to divert recyclable containers from landfill.
Taronga staff got together to make their own personal pledges for Plastic Free July, acting as leaders for the community. Plus, Taronga offer this great ‘Litter Free Toolkit’ for businesses and schools to make a change for wildlife.