Whether it’s caring for their animals, running a gift shop or feeding their visitors, our members have to use all kinds of supplies in the everyday running of their organisations. Many of our members have assessed where they were using plastics and found biodegradable alternatives or removed the items altogether.
Taronga Zoo have paid particular attention to their hospitality services, removing over 320,000 single-use sauce packets per year, along with 350,000 single-use food trays. In addition they have an innovative initiative in which compostable coffee cups, cutlery and food packaging is diverted for composting and turned into electricity and fertiliser pellets.
Zoos Victoria has also already started the changeover of plastic cutlery at Melbourne Zoo to compostable wares. These are composted on site in their in-vessel composter, greatly minimising greenhouse gas emissions. Healesville Sanctuary and Werribee Open Range Zoo will follow this initiative by July 2019.
The biodegradable alternatives for packaging has been quite popular in fact. Sea World at Surfers Paradise has switched most food and drink containers to biodegradable packaging, removing plastic cutlery, which saves the production of 580,000 units every year. Also in QLD, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary offer visitors the chance to buy rice husk mugs, made from the by-product of rice and held together with tree sap. The branded mugs look great and are the perfect way to reduce both plastic and paper wastage.
The National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra has also been promoting the use of ‘keep cups’ with their visitors, as well as testing people on their recycling knowledge with the Become a Pro test online and at the zoo.