Single-use plastic drinking straws and single-use plastic shopping bags are being removed from all 12 SeaWorld Entertainment’s theme parks.
The commitment includes SeaWorld and Aquatica parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego; Sesame Place; Adventure Island; Water Country USA; Discovery Cove Orlando; Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
SeaWorld is joining the ranks of other travel organisations and government entities working to reduce the use of single-use plastics, such as Alaska Airlines, Hilton, and Hurtigruten.
Interim chief executive John Reilly said: “This milestone environmental achievement is a testament to our mission to protect the environment, the ocean and the animals we share our planet with, which are currently threatened by unprecedented amounts of plastic pollution.
“We see the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the animals we rescue and rehabilitate, and therefore, recognize the importance of doing our part to curb plastic pollution.”
Jon Peterson, manager of rescue operations at SeaWorld Orlando, added: “We’ve seen first-hand the horrific damage that plastic pollution causes to animals.
“Some studies have indicated that more than half of sea turtles out in the wild ingest some form of plastic.
“In fact just last week we performed surgery on a rescued sea turtle who became ill from ingesting plastic and other ocean debris.”
Despite these strides in curbing plastic pollution, more work remains to reduce the company’s environmental footprint.
SeaWorld is continuing to invest in more renewable energy, such as efforts at Aquatica San Diego aimed at to generating 80% to 90% of its power from solar energy.
The company also lowered its greenhouse gas emissions by nine per cent from 2014 to 2017 and improved recycling of waste by more than 50% over the same period.
Efforts to sustainably-source food is served at the parks, includes cage-free eggs and certified organic coffee.
A range of water conservation efforts that are in place, including harvesting rainwater, reusing water for cooling buildings, and adapting landscaping to require less water.
SeaWorld corporate curator of conservation and education. Bill Street, said: “We’re proud of the incredible progress our parks have made in waste, water and energy reduction.
“It’s efforts like these, multiplied by key partnerships with conservation-minded organisations, that will continue to make a difference in how we impact our planet and benefit the amazing animals that call it home.”
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