The Houston Zoo has announced a move that marks an aggressive shift to greener grounds: As of March 2018, the zoo has removed single-use plastic straws from all concession stands.
This new directive comes during an environmentally friendly sea change at the zoo. In 2015, the zoo removed plastic bags in the gift shops. And last year, the zoo-based conservation organization eliminated single-use plastic water bottles. With the change, the zoo will prevent an estimated 80,000 plastic bags, 300,000 plastic bottles, and nearly 23,000 plastic straws from entering landfills — according to a statement.
Guests of the zoo now have the option to go completely bag-free, purchase reusable bags or use a tote brought from home; water can be purchased via an aluminum, pre-filled, reusable bottle or a recyclable, paper-based carton at any of the restaurants or kiosks.
The zoo statement notes that Houston Zoo is among the first U.S. zoos and aquariums to eliminate all single-use consumer plastic items. The removal is plastic is said to benefit wildlife such as endangered sea turtles and other marine creatures that often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods.