This post was originally published on the Zero Waste Box™ blog. Visit us there for more expert advice on recycling, zero waste lifestyle tips, and more!
Zoos, aquariums, and museums—oh my! All around the world, these curated institutions inspire, entertain, and educate people of all ages, toddlers to grandparents, highlighting and conserving the wonders of our species and planet. They spark creativity and togetherness, and are some of our favorite places to explore, even at home!
In celebration of World Oceans Day, the global movement for protecting our oceans (which cover 30% of our blue planet!) observed June 8, we’re highlighting an aquarium and a museum that are going above and beyond to lower their environmental footprint using Zero Waste Boxes.
Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada
First, we’re taking a deep dive into Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada located in Toronto, Ontario.
Melanie Warren, Lead Aquarist at Ripley’s, says, “As an aquarium, we are passionate about conservation and reducing the effects of climate change and pollution. We established the “Blue Team,” a team consisting of representatives from each department in our building, committed to reducing the aquarium’s ecological footprint.
Since its creation, the “Blue Team” has organized recycling programs, shoreline cleanups, partnerships with conservation organizations, and more.” Ripley’s Aquariums also support The Ocean Project, the global leader for coordinating and collaboratively growing World Oceans Day and TerraCycle® Charity Partner!
The how: Ripley’s recycles a variety of items used behind the scenes of aquarium upkeep, including gloves, plastic packaging from animal supplies, and food packaging from staff lunches. The Zero Waste Boxes are located around the aquarium for employees in all departments to use.
The why: After finding TerraCycle through some eco-activists on social media, Ripley’s did some research and decided to add recycling everything to many ways they are lowering their carbon footprint. They saw this as an added way to engage employees already incredibly passionate about the environment and looking for ways to contribute to eco-friendly efforts.
The Broad is a contemporary art museum located in downtown Los Angeles. The museum houses one of the world’s leading collections of postwar and contemporary art, which includes artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Takashi Murakami, and Andy Warhol.
According to Tina Matthews, a preparator at The Broad, they are one of only a handful of museums to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification, which recognizes The Broad’s energy-saving design features and continuing commitment to sustainable practices.
The how: The Broad set up their own internal process to recycle gloves used in the preparation of art displays. By introducing their staff to their recycling initiative and strategically placing collection units on tool carts and in the preparation shop, they have been collecting gloves for over two years!
The why: The use of the gloves Zero Waste Box™ was spearheaded by Elizabeth Hanson, a Senior Assistant Registrar at The Broad, who discovered the option to recycle gloves after looking into some of our National Recycling Programs. Now, everyone involved is excited at the opportunity to divert waste from landfill!
There’s a lot of “stuff” used behind the scenes at zoos, aquariums, and museums, as well by consumers and patrons on the facility floor, and with the thousands of animals, artifacts, and other precious treasures to care for, there’s an ocean of opportunities to reduce waste and create systems for collecting the typically non-recyclable.
This World Oceans Day, we’re grateful for all of the business leaders who are taking steps to be more environmentally conscious!
Wondering what you can this World Oceans Day month as an individual? Check out worldoceansday.org for more information on getting involved in beach cleanups or online events, pledging, and educational resources you can use at home, or redeem your TerraCycle® points to The Ocean Project.
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