SeaWorld moves to ditch single-use plastic straws, bags from all its theme parks

Posted at 3:21 PM, Jun 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 20:37:51-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - SeaWorld announced Friday it will remove single-use plastic straws and shopping bags from all its 12 theme park locations.

The elimination across all parks follows a movement of cities and businesses that have moved to ban single-use straws and bags in an effort to reduce plastic pollution.

Instead of plastic straws, SeaWorld will offer guests paper straws and reusable cups and reusable straws for purchase. The park already offers reusable shopping bags.

RELATED: IKEA to stop selling single-use plastic like straws, cups, freezer bags by 2020

SeaWorld San Diego eliminated single-use plastic bags in 2011, eliminated polystyrene in 2013 and have been using paper straws for more than a decade, according to park Communications Director David Koontz.

"We've seen first-hand the horrific damage that plastic pollution causes to animals," Jon Peterson, manager of rescue operations at SeaWorld Orlando, said in a release. "Some studies have indicated that more than half of sea turtles out in the wild ingest some form of plastic."

SeaWorld crews recently performed surgery on a sea turtle in Orlando after it became ill from ingesting plastic and ocean debris.

RELATED: Aquatica San Diego going green as it enters sixth season in Chula Vista

The move comes days after IKEA announced it would phase out single-use plastics in straws, cups, and freezer bags by 2020. Alaska Airlines also recently announced its ditching plastic straws on its flights.

The Ocean Conservancy, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, estimates about 8 tons of plastics enter the ocean every year — on top of about 150 million tons that already circulate the globe.