Zoo Knoxville and Waste Connections raise awareness about the perils posed by plastics.
Visitors to Zoo Knoxville will receive $10 admission in exchange for recycling bottles and containers made of #1 PET and #2 HDPE plastics beginning Monday, August 27, through Sunday, Sept. 2, 2018. The discount is an initiative by the zoo and Waste Connections to raise awareness about the dangers of single-use plastic items to wildlife and to promote recycling and reducing personal use of plastic.
Nearly half of all plastic ever manufactured has been made since 2000, with a total of more than 450 million tons created in 2015 alone. In the same year, Americans purchased about 346 plastic beverage bottles per person—111 billion plastic bottles in all. On average, only 9% of those bottles were recycled.
Production of plastic is outpacing our ability to manage it in a sustainable way, with between 10 and 20 million tons of plastic debris ending up in our oceans each year. Roughly 80 percent of that comes from inland rivers that eventually transport it to the coast.
Plastics in our oceans are taking a devastating toll on animals, with more than 700 species estimated to have been affected. Discarded plastic is drowning marine mammals and turtles. Sea life such as birds, reptiles and fish are mistaking algae-covered plastic debris for food, resulting in malnourishment, chronic hunger and death.
“Zoo Knoxville and the entire community of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) have the opportunity and responsibility to lead by example. As an organization, we are working on finding alternatives to single-use plastics,” said CEO and President Lisa New. “We also feel it is important to challenge our guests to recycle and reuse. By doing so, they are leading a change to protect wildlife and wild places. This is a symbolic way to make everyone more aware of their consumption and disposal of plastics.”
To redeem the $10 general admission ticket, guests should present a recyclable plastic container made of #1 PET or #2 HDPE plastic at the zoo’s ticket window between August 27 and Sept. 2, 2018. Special thanks to Waste Connections for their support of this campaign.
Zoo Knoxville is a nonprofit entity situated on 53 wooded acres just east of downtown Knoxville. Zoo Knoxville features exhibits of wild animals in natural habitats and is world renowned for its efforts in conservation and species survival. Zoo Knoxville is nationally accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and is committed to the highest standards in animal care and well-being, ethics, conservation, and education. Knoxville’s largest attraction, the zoo is open every day except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Currently, the zoo is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Admission and ticket sales stop one-hour before the zoo closes. For more information visit zooknoxville.org.