Sea World Promises to Eliminate Plastic Bags at all its Theme Parks

plastic bagsIn a major boost to anti-plastic activists everywhere, one of the largest and most famous theme parks, Sea World has made a move to stop the sale and use of plastic bags from all its locations by the end of next year. The company has instead decided to give free shopping bags that are made from recycled paper and visitors will also have the option of buying eco friendly reusable bags which will be priced between $1.49 and $ 9.95 each. Sea World Parks and Entertainment, which has its headquarters in Orlando, Florida has vowed to shift to the eco-friendly branded merchandise at all its theme parks, some of which are SeaWorld San Diego, Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Adventure Island Tampa.

Why the shift to Eco-friendly promotional items?

Sea World has been the target of many wildlife activists who are against its practise of keeping numerous ocean mammals captive. To project a more environment friendly image, in 2011 Sea World banned plastic bags across all its theme parks in Orlando and has now announced that it plans on doing the same at all its locations across America. This plastic free initiative was launched just before the grand opening of its “Turtle Trek” theme park and the company wants to continue along the same vein.

SeaWorld has stated that its move away from plastic bags will reduce the number of these bags entering landfills by about 4 million. Plastic bags are extremely harmful to marine life especially sea turtles, as they mistake these bags for jellyfish and ingest them. A spokesperson for the company has stated that the initiative to shift to eco-friendly bags arises from their long standing commitment to protect endangered marine animals like sea turtles and to educate their visitors about the importance of conservation. Sea World has also received positive feedback from its visitors and employees, which has strengthened its resolve to promote and use other eco friendly products.

Other eco-friendly measures

Along with these promotional reusable bags, SeaWorld has also introduced eco friendly drinking cups in partnership with Coca-Cola. CEO and President of the company- Jim Atchison, has expressed his hopes of SeaWorld being considered an industry model and  that other companies will follow them in banning plastic materials. Walt Disney World has decided not to switch to paper bags owing to the humid climate and weakness of paper bags. It does continue to use recyclable plastic bags and print inspirational messages on them to promote environmental issues. It is yet to be seen if other theme parks will adopt a similar stance.

Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/xrayspx/517208118/

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