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OKC Zoo launches Plastic Free EcoChallenge in July

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is encouraging consumers to shift away from single-use plastic dependency and make a change for the benefit of the world’s ecosystems by participating in the Plastic Free EcoChallenge during July.

The premise for the EcoChallege is that disposable plastic items like grocery bags, straws and bottles are creating huge ecological harm, especially in oceans and other aquatic habitats. This includes our streams, rivers and lakes in Oklahoma where plastic trash is a common sight. The challenge runs now through Saturday, July 31, and is open to the public.

Participants will earn eco-points for using less plastic, recycling, switching to reusable items and for pledging to make other eco-friendly changes.

Sign up to join the OKC Zoo team here.  

In 2020, the OKC Zoo team refused over 950 straws, 1,019 plastic bottles, 1,104 pieces of plastic cutlery, picked up 2,606 pieces of litter, signed 34 petitions and attended 4 different community events to advocate against single-use plastics. This collaborative initiative earned the OKC Zoo team third place amongst all participating organizations after placing seventh in 2019. Learn more here

Disposable plastic items like grocery bags, straws and bottles are creating huge ecological harm, especially in oceans and other aquatic habitats. This includes our streams, rivers and lakes in Oklahoma where plastic trash is a common sight.

The challenge runs through Saturday, July 31, and is open to the public. Participants will earn eco-points for using less plastic, recycling, switching to reusable items and for pledging to make other eco-friendly changes.

While exploring the Zoo, guests can help reduce plastic by utilizing in-park recycling to dispose of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans. The Zoo is now the premiere Oklahoma location to offer Pepsi’s canned Aquafina® water in all of its vending machines, and these cans can be recycled on grounds.

Guests can also bring their own reusable water bottle and pack snacks that have minimal plastic.

The Plastic Free EcoChallenge is a global challenge to reduce and refuse single-use plastics. These plastics pollute waterways, break down within crucial ecosystems and harm wildlife, which ingest and become ensnared in plastic debris, advocates of the EcoChallenge assert. 

With the goal of preventing this cycle from continuing, Ecochallenge.org began this 31-day global initiative, inspired by the Australian-founded initiative, Plastic Free July. EcoChallenge is an online educational platform that challenges participants to act on environmental issues. They have engaged 100,000+ people from 139 countries on their platform and 390,000 people total throughout the nonprofit’s 28-year history.

The program’s designers believe single-use plastics are a major threat to all species, including humans. With the 31-day challenge, EcoChallenge hopes to inspire participants to reduce and refuse single-use plastics in July and beyond.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is currently in its summer hours and open daily open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with the last entry no later than 4 p.m.

Purchase advance tickets at okczoo.org/tickets to avoid the entry lines.

Regular admission is $12 for adults and $9 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free.

Zoo fans can support the OKC Zoo by becoming a ZOOfriends member. Starting at $45, memberships can be purchased at ZOOfriends.org and provide access to the OKC Zoo for an entire year plus, additional benefits and discounts. T

To learn more about Zoo happenings, call 405-424-3344 or visit okczoo.org.

The Oklahoma City Zoo is encouraging consumers to shift away from single-use plastic dependency and make a change for the benefit of the world’s ecosystems by participating in the Plastic Free EcoChallenge this July. Photo provided.