Encouraging visitors to use less single-use plastic
Together with our sister Zoo, Whipsnade Zoo, we've become the first in the UK to remove all single-use plastic water bottles from its shelves, as part of a new campaign to protect the world’s oceans from the devastating impacts of plastic pollution. With estimates suggesting that by 2025 there will be a tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in our oceans, we're influencing visitors to use less plastic and join us in protecting the planet.
London Zoo visitors alone gulped back some 155,000 plastic bottles of water in 2015, so we've made the switch to more ocean-friendly packaging options and we're encouraging other visitor attractions to do the same. Our new range of refillable plastic bottles available alongside fully-recyclable paperboard drink cartons.
Reducing plastic at visitor attractions
Plastic pollution is a significant and ever-growing threat to rivers and oceans. Approximately 13 million tonnes of plastic currently enter the ocean each year with devastating effects on marine wildlife. UK consumers alone get through 13 billion disposable plastic bottles per year – equivalent to 200 per person – and only half of these are currently recycled, with the remainder usually ending up in landfill.
As part of the #OneLess campaigns, we want to see not only Zoo visitors, but all Londoners ditching single-use plastic water bottles, and instead drinking from refillable bottles.
ZSL’s Head of Commercial Kathryn England said: “We welcome more than one million visitors a year to London Zoo, and that’s one million people we can inspire to help protect the world’s oceans.
“By removing single-use plastic water bottles from our shelves, we’re not only reducing our own impact on the oceans, but opening our visitors’ eyes to the problem and showing them how easy it can be to adopt more sustainable alternatives.”
The climate crisis is one of the greatest threats to wildlife – and we're working to cut our carbon emissions by half by 2030. We're putting nature at the heart of our decision-making and are calling on world leaders to do the same.
Protecting our oceans
ZSL’s Head of Marine and Freshwater Conservation, Dr Heather Koldewey, said: “On a recent field trip to the Chagos Archipelago Marine Reserve, one of the world’s most remote island chains, I was deeply shocked to see the amount of plastic water bottles washing up on the beaches from all around the world, showing the impact of our disposable society in even the most pristine places.
“We need to make a change and it can start by simply using a refillable water bottle. Through projects like the #OneLess campaign and our successful Project Ocean partnership with Selfridges, ZSL is helping to reduce the amount of ocean-bound plastic and protect the biodiversity of life beneath the waves.”