OKLAHOMA CITY – A local zoo has a challenge for all Oklahomans throughout the month of July.
The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is asking Oklahomans to take part in the global “Plastic Free July” challenge.
Plastic items like grocery bags, straws and coffee cups are creating an issue for oceans and other aquatic habitats like streams, rivers and lakes.
The zoo’s 145-member ‘Plastic Free July’ team is currently in 12th place out of 633 zoos and aquariums across the world competing to get the most eco-points during the month-long event.
The challenge awards eco-points to participants for using less plastic, recycling, switching to reusable items and for pledging to make other eco-friendly changes.
“Small actions add up to big impact – one person choosing to refuse a straw or a plastic grocery bag might not make a difference, but a collective, organized group of people changing their behavior will tremendously benefit the world,” said Rebecca Snyder, OKC Zoo curator of conservation and science. “Raising awareness of the environmental harm associated with single-use plastics and empowering individuals to take action is the goal of the ‘Plastic Free July’ challenge and one that the Zoo supports unequivocally.”
In 2018, members of the zoo’s team refused 900 straws, 927 plastic bottles and 871 pieces of plastic cutlery. The team also picked up 2,039 pieces of litter, prepared 177 zero-waste meals, signed 22 petitions and volunteered 36 hours to clean up plastic waste.