More than 70 million tons of single-use plastics are produced every year. Only 9% of what is put in the recycling bin actually ends up being recycled -- the rest ends up in landfills, the ocean, or simply dumped - and takes about 1,000 years to decompose.
With 8 million tons of plastic finding its way into our oceans annually, there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. Animals on land are being equally affected by plastic. Littered plastic bags, fishing wires and bottles commonly trap and entangle wildlife. Some mistake plastic for food and consumption leaves them severely sick and often dead.
Plastic in our own backyard is hurting the California Condor. These majestic birds are eating bits of littered plastic, feeding it to their young and including it in their nests, all leading to illnesses and deaths of this endangered species.
Solutions to the plastic problem are practical and critically needed. Changes need to happen at all levels: manufacturing, correct recycling of plastic and personal purchasing choices. Simple changes to how we use plastic are the best way to combat this worldwide crisis. Join Oakland Zoo and hundreds of others in taking the "No To Plastic" pledge! Click here.
Oakland Zoo Takes Action
2020 was Oakland Zoo's year of saying #NoToPlastic. We featured Washed Ashore exhibits, aesthetically powerful art that educates a global audience about plastic pollution in the ocean and waterways and spark positive changes in consumer habits. We engaged our staff and the public in taking the #NoToPlastic pledge, to eliminate our reliance on single-use plastic. We expanded organized clean-ups to local beaches and waterways, to protect our local habitats from plastic waste. Our work to combat plastic waste doesn't end there, it is part of our ethos and will be something we continue to work.
Around the Zoo
Water fountains and water refill stations throughout the zoo, making it easy to fill and reuse bottles
Membership cards are now digital, cutting down on the plastic cards and paper mailers
Envelopes with windows use biodegradable film and not plastic
Choose reusable bottles instead of single use drinks
Skip the straw, opt for reusable
Bring utensils or opt for compostable
Avoid paper and plastic bags at the grocery store, use reusable bags instead
Pass on the single use coffee pods, choose a reusable option
Buy in bulk and opt for food without plastic packaging
Use newspaper instead of plastic bags to line waste bins
Join Oakland Zoo in Taking Action for whales, sea turtles, shorebirds and all native Wildlife! Volunteers meet at the Zoo and ride the Zoo Shuttle to a local bay-destined waterway to remove trash, including the ever-abundant plastics that harms and kills our seabirds, turtles, fish and more. *Please note clean-ups are currently on hold.