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Zoos and aquariums look to reduce plastic waste

Zoos and aquariums look to reduce plastic waste
May 28, 2018

Looking to reduce their usage of plastics in day-to-day operations, zoos and aquariums across Australia have been assessing how they have been using plastics - finding biodegradable alternatives or removed the items altogether.

Taronga Zoo in Sydney 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.

New maroon bins around the Zoo indicate a waste stream for compostables.

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.

Biodegradable alternatives for packaging have also been introduced at Sea World on the Gold Coast, with the attraction switching most food and drink containers to biodegradable packaging.

Sea World has also stopped supplying plastic cutlery, which saving the production of 580,000 units every year.

Also in Queensland, 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 are an innovative 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.

In tandem with moves by retailers and supermarkets to eliminate single-use plastic bags, may zoos and aquariums also no longer distribute plastic bags.

Alexandra Park Zoo in Bundaberg, Queensland has recently started replacing standard plastic garbage bags with compostable corn-based bags from Compost-A-Pak, whose products are claimed to breakdown as much as 99% in 45 days in a compost bin.

The National Zoo and Aquarium is also encouraging its visitors to remove some of the plastic bags already circulating by placing soft plastic recycling collection points within the zoo for the week leading up to Earth Day.

Meanwhile, Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch has looked to remove the use of plastic bags altogether in their gift shop. Shoppers are now offered reusable material bags for a small price instead, which have proven very popular and have assisted the park to reduce their use of plastic bags by over 4,000 per year.

Zoos Victoria, with a Zero Waste to Landfill by 2019 plan, has extensive programs to reduce and recycle single-use plastics, including recycling soft plastics and buying back products made from them.

These recycled and remanufactured plastics will be used as replacements forwood-based products such as decking, seats, bollards and sleepers.

Images: Rice husk mugs used by Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary (top) and recycling initiatives at Sydney's Taronga Zoo (middle and below).

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7th October 2016 - TARONGA ZOO MARKS 100 YEARS OF CONSERVATION

14th August 2016 - UNESCO REPORT URGES PROTECTION OF OCEANS WITH WORLD HERITAGE STATUS 

18th February 2015 - MZUNGU THE GIRAFFE TO BOOST BREEDING PROGRAM AT NATIONAL ZOO AND AQUARIUM 

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Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

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