Columbia, S.C. – Inspiring behavior changes, from watching wildlife in action to taking action to save wildlife, is a goal that Riverbanks Zoo and Garden works toward achieving with visitors every day. Today Riverbanks invites the entire community to step up to the challenge for a plastic-free summer to help protect our environment at home and around the globe. Penguins are just one of many species impacted by plastic pollution, and you can waddle in this weekend for a chance to see one of four new penguin chicks.
Plastic pollution is an ever-growing problem that negatively impacts the planet, from our own backyards to the ocean and everywhere in between. Each year over 400 million tons of plastic is produced, most of which ends up in landfills or waterways. Anyone can take steps to a plastic-free summer by committing to these five easy actions:
SIP SUSTAINABLY: Just in the United States, half a billion straws are used daily. Plastic straws take up to two hundred years to decompose. By skipping the straw or using a biodegradable option like StrawFish® consumers will play a key role in both saving marine life and limiting the amount of plastic straw waste in the community.
CHOOSE TO REUSE: Five trillion plastic bags and over 500 billion plastic bottles are used globally every year. Try choosing a reusable shopping bag and carrying a refillable water bottle. This will keep hundreds of single use plastic items from entering landfills and waterways.
RECYCLE WHEN YOU CAN: It is estimated that ONLY 18% of plastic waste is recycled. Next time it's time to dispose of something plastic, take a moment to look for the nearest recycling bin.
BRING A TRASH BAG: Over 10 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year often being consumed by curious wildlife. By bringing along a trash bag on any outdoor adventure, whether a day at the beach or a hike in the woods, anyone can help prevent plastic pollution from harming wildlife.
LEAD BY EXAMPLE: Visit the Riverbanks website to take our Plastic Free Summer pledge at riverbanks.org/pledge. Tag us on social media with #plasticfreesummer and #liveawildlife. Then post a photo of YOU taking a plastic-free action—and encourage friends and family to take the challenge as well.
Riverbanks is excited to lead this charge to protect our planet. The Zoo also is proud to announce the hatching of four rockhopper penguin chicks. They are currently visible in the Penguin Coast habitat inside the Birdhouse at Riverbanks. Hurry in if you want to catch a glimpse! As the chicks begin to leave their nests in the next 7-10 days, they will move behind the scenes with their families for a four-week staycation to enjoy the safety of a kiddie pool and build swim-skills. They will return to public view in mid-August to swim with the big kids!
Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is home to more than 3,000 magnificent and fascinating animals and one of America’s best public gardens. The Zoo opened on April 25, 1974, and for nearly five decades, has connected individuals, families and school children with the natural world. Riverbanks is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is recognized as a global leader in animal care and welfare, education, recreation, science and wildlife conservation. It is the mission of the Zoo and Garden to create meaningful connections and inspire actions that will have a lasting impact on conservation. For more information, visit riverbanks.org.
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