SeaWorld Says Goodbye to Polystyrene Foam Products

SeaWorld Says Goodbye to Polystyrene Foam Products

9/17/2013 3:05:00 PM




The park’s latest conservation initiative eliminates polystyrene foam tableware and plastic flatware in restaurants


SAN DIEGO (Sept. 17, 2013) -- Two years after eliminating single-use plastic bags from its gift shops, SeaWorld® San Diego has phased out polystyrene foam tableware and plastic flatware in its restaurants and employee cafeterias.  With millions of meals served in the park each year, the removal of polystyrene foam products is heralded as another important conservation and environmental protection initiative by SeaWorld.

“SeaWorld is proud to be a responsible steward of the environment, not just here in our park, but in the oceans and the world we share,” says SeaWorld San Diego Park President John Reilly. “We hope our actions will inspire others to take similar steps that, combined, can make a huge difference.”

Discarded polystyrene foam, which is not biodegradable, ends up in local landfills, on beaches and in the ocean ecosystem. This pollution can be extremely detrimental to marine animals.

The park’s culinary team began phasing out polystyrene foam products at restaurants and food carts in 2012.  The process took several months.  The employee cafeterias were the final dining facilities to implement the use of the environmentally friendly products.

In all, more than 8 million individual pieces of tableware and cutlery – plates, bowls, hot cups, forks, spoons and knives – were shifted to compostable material.  Bowls and plates are now made from molded fibers, flatware is now made from cornstarch, and hot cups are made from recycled paper.

“As an organization that has worked to combat litter for almost 60 years, I Love A Clean San Diego commends the efforts of SeaWorld to eliminate the use of many products that persist in the environment for generations,” said Pauline Martinson, Executive Director of I Love A Clean San Diego. “By eliminating the use of these containers, SeaWorld’s efforts may help in the reduction in marine debris locally.”

Doing away with polystyrene foam products is just one element of SeaWorld’s evolving conservation practices. SeaWorld eliminated single-use plastic bags from its gift shops in 2011.  On Sept. 28, the park will host its 10th electronic recycling event for the community. Every year, SeaWorld also recycles millions of pounds of paper and plastic products, metals, greenery, food scraps, wet suits, pallets, cooking oil, construction demolition debris and batteries, in addition to more traditional recyclable materials.  Since 1996, the park has received a San Diego Recycler of the Year award 15 times. 

In addition to recycling practices and eliminating plastic bags, SeaWorld is always looking to implement new and innovative ways to maintain nutritious diets for the park’s animal population while being mindful of effective re-use practices.  Examples include re-purposing items from the culinary operations department, such as feeding bread, fruits and lettuces to the domestic animals at “Pets Rule!”

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment inspires millions, through the power of entertainment, to celebrate, connect with and care for the natural world. The company has been creating innovative entertainment experiences that blend imagination with nature for more than 50 years and is best known for its 11 U.S. theme parks, attractions that hosted more than 24 million guests in 2012 and include the beloved SeaWorld, Busch Gardens® and Sesame Place® brands.  The parks offer guests a variety of up-close experiences, from animal encounters that invite exploration and appreciation of the natural world, to thrilling rides and spectacular shows.  In 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment began expanding its popular brands into media and entertainment platforms to connect people to nature and animals through movies, television, and digital media; plus began developing new lines of licensed consumer products. 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is one of the world’s foremost zoological organizations and a global leader in animal welfare, training, husbandry and veterinary care.  The company maintains one of the largest animal collections in the world and has helped lead advances in the care of species in zoological facilities and in the conservation of wild populations. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment also operates one of the world’s most respected programs to rescue and rehabilitate ocean marine animals that are ill, injured and orphaned, with the goal of returning them to the wild. The SeaWorld rescue team has helped more than 22,000 animals in need over the last four decades. 

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment employs more than 21,000 people nationwide.