8 June 2022

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.

One Less water bottle campaign at Terrace restaurant
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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.  

Plastic bottles and waste washed up on a beach

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.”

Sustainability at Tiny giants

Fighting the climate crisis at the Zoo

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.”

Our animals

  • Sumatran tiger Gaysha walking in her Tiger Territory home at London Zoo
    Panthera tigris sondaica

    Sumatran tiger

    Sumatran tigers are smallest and rarest tiger, and they have the deepest orange colour of all the tiger subspecies.

  • Gorilla eating at London Zoo
    Gorilla gorilla gorilla

    Western lowland gorilla

    Gorillas are the world's largest primate, weighing up to 200kg. They share 98.4% of their DNA with humans, and all four gorilla subspecies are critically endangered.

  • Squirrel monkey baby at London Zoo
    Saimiri boliviensis

    Black-capped squirrel monkeys

    Squirrel monkeys have the largest brain, proportionally, of all primates.

  • Chinese giant salamander being held during a health check at London Zoo
    Andrias davidianus

    Chinese giant salamander

    Chinese giant salamanders are the world's biggest amphibian, at full size they are around the size of a fully grown man at 1.8m in length.  

  • Spectacled Owl in the forest
    Pulsatrix perspicillata

    Spectacled owl

    Spectacled owls are a rainforest owl species, which hunt at night by watching from a branch with their keen eyesight, then drop silently on to their prey with a swift pounce.

  • Leafcutter ant carrying flower
    Atta cephalotes

    Leafcutter ant

    They can carry up to 50 times their own body weight and collect leaves to provide food for the fungus they farm.

  • Ring-tailed lemur in the In with the Lemurs exhibit at London Zoo
    Lemur catta

    Ring-tailed lemur

    There are just 2000 ring-tailed lemurs in the wild today. as droughts caused by Droughts caused by climate change are destroying the fruiting trees that lemurs depend upon.

  • Our animals