Busch Gardens and SeaWorld parks making the switch from plastic to paper bags

05/02/12 Olivis Kabat
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Florida theme parks SeaWorld and Busch Gardens are making the switch from plastic bags to paper bags. The parent company recently announced the change to paper shopping bags in an effort to promote an eco-friendly recyclable alternative.

Busch Gardens and its parent company SeaWorld have decided to make this plastic to paper swap to demonstrate the parks important commitment to a clean environment and the protection of marine animals. Becca Bides, Director of Communications for SeaWorld Orlando says park gift shops will now offer 100% recycled paper bags and new recyclable paper soda cups will be available for park visitors.

“The net effect is that we are removing more than 4 million plastic bags from landfills every year. That’s exactly the amount we go through so we are now switching over to 100% recyclable paper bags, which as you know can decompose very easily.”

The switch will reduce the number of plastic bags filling up landfills. Bides says plastic bags also cause harm and even death to marine animals.

“It also lets us spread a message that is near and dear to our heart which is the issues of marine pollution and marine debris on sea animals. Sea turtles often mistake and do often mistake plastic bags for their favorite food which is jelly fish. We rescue thousands of animals a year and it’s not unusual to see sea turtles who are sick and who have died from ingesting plastic bags.”

According to Bides, they have tested eliminating plastic shopping bags at other theme parks and the results effectively addressed the environmental concerns. Bides calls this is an important step in the right direction for the company.

“We actually tested it at our San Diego Park, so SeaWorld San Diego last year when they opened a new turtle attraction. The test went extremely successfully and we felt really good about it as a company. We’re expanding it to all of our theme parks across the United States. So the next phase is the Orlando parks which will be paper bag-less in all the gift shops. So that’s SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove, and Aquatica. Then our other parks like Busch Gardens will be phased in through the rest of the next year."

Bides says the company wants park guests to feel like they can consume responsibly and the products they’re using are eco-friendly.

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