A major regional conservation charity has bottled out in aid of wildlife. The Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust - the charity that runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts in Torquay and Newquay Zoo in Cornwall – has stopped selling single-use plastic drinks bottles.
The move is designed to highlight the huge problem of waste plastics, particularly in our oceans.
Trust spokesperson Phil Knowling said: “Buying water and soft drinks in plastic bottles is part of modern culture and a huge global enterprise. We can’t change or stop the way society uses and throws away plastics on our own – but we can set an example that will help to highlight an issue that a lot of people probably don’t even realise is an issue.
“All our zoos are near the sea – Living Coasts is right on the water and staff organise local beach cleans – so the issue of marine plastics is close to our hearts.”
Sarah Benthall, the Trust’s Group Catering Manager, said: “Plastic is a huge problem area for us – food packaging, shopping bags, waste material of all sorts. We’re under no illusions about the scale of the task – we’re just starting with one manageable example of the issue - single-use plastic drinks bottles.”
The Trust has removed all plastic single-use drinks bottles from its shops and catering outlets at all three zoos. The charity earns about £40,000 a year from selling water in plastic bottles and last year sold over 50,000 fizzy drinks in bottles at Paignton Zoo and Living Coasts.
Sarah: “The good news is, there ARE alternatives. All of our outlets at Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts and Newquay Zoo now sell drinks in recyclable boxes, cans or glass bottles. Water in boxes seems odd, but you get used to it! You can also carry refillable, reusable water bottles – if they’re made of stainless steel, polyester or aluminium then they are far better than single-use plastic bottles. Each zoo will be selling branded reusable water bottles. We provide free water so they can be topped up.”
Phil Knowling: “Throwaway plastic bottles are convenient – but we pay a high price for that convenience. Plastics are poisoning our water and choking our wildlife.”