The Zoological Society of East Anglia (ZSEA), which runs several animal conservation projects and attractions, including Banham Zoo and Africa Alive!, was determined to stop using plastic water bottles at its sites.
Martin Dupee, ZSEA’s Director of Operations, said: “At both Banham Zoo and Africa Alive!, we have joined with other zoos across the UK to remove all single-use plastic drink bottles from our shelves as part of a campaign to help protect the world’s oceans from the devastating impact of plastic pollution.
“We have even started going beyond this with the removal of all plastic straws, drinking cups and other single-use plastic items from our food outlets, wherever possible.
“With estimates suggesting that by 2025 there will be a tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish in our oceans, something has to change and it has to be now. We cannot wait.
“With the support of the Regency Purchasing Group, a partnership which has actively supported our work over a number of years, we have been able to work with our suppliers to radically change the profile of the products we offer our guests.
“Whether it’s the move from plastic drinks bottles to canned drinks, including the revolutionary new CanO Water, and removing impulse ice creams which contain plastic packaging, right through to the disposable plates, cutlery, cups and straws. They all needed to be replaced with far more environmentally friendly material.
“There is no compromise from our perspective and Regency have supported that stance and enabled it to happen, from my perspective, far easier than if I was doing it myself.
“There is still such a long way to go and I look forward to this ongoing challenge knowing that I have the Regency Purchasing Group with me on the way.”
We are getting calls daily from existing members and potential new ones, who are all looking to increase the range of compostable product on their businesses.
Because of our work with the zoo’s we have been able to formulate solutions over the past two years, so whilst some people are only picking this up now, we have been doing it for years.
We have also been approached recently by a number of local authorities, who are interested in our work on reducing single use plastics.
We’ve been speaking to councils in Norfolk, Cumbria, Devon and North Somerset, who are all keen to reduce single use plastic in concessions, but have had resistance due to increased costs.
However, with our experience and purchasing power, we can counterbalance these costs with other savings, and therefore achieve the removal of single use plastics whilst ensuring prices do not increase.
Alternatives such as CanO Water are extremely effective as they are highly recyclable. The re-sealable aluminium cans can be back on the shelf in as little as six weeks.
The issue of single-use plastics is not going to go away, and as public awareness grows, and the demands of the end-user changes, so, too, do the needs of our members.
We’re working very hard to play an increasing part in helping our members to significantly reduce – and hopefully to eventually eliminate – the amount of plastic pollution they generate.