Busch Gardens, SeaWorld eliminating plastic bags

Published April 25 2012
Updated April 26 2012

Soon there will be no more "Paper or plastic?" questions for shoppers at SeaWorld and Busch Gardens. SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment announced Wednesday that it plans to eliminate plastic shopping bags within the next year. It is the largest theme park operator to make this commitment.

Park gift shops will offer paper bags made from 100 percent recycled paper, or guests can choose to purchase reusable bags, the company said in a news release.

Another green change: Sodas now come in paper cups made with 85 percent renewable resources.

"This is a significant change for our company, one we hope will provide a model for our industry overall," said Jim Atchison, president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

"Eliminating plastic bags is an important statement about our commitment to the environment, as well as the need to help protect marine animals from debris. It also allows our guests to play a direct part in making a difference on our planet," Atchison said.

The move will keep an estimated 4 million plastic bags from entering landfills and the environment each year, the company said. Wildlife such as endangered sea turtles often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, one of their favorite foods.