This week members of our management team travelled to Wroclaw in Poland to attend the BIAZA Zoo Design Conference and visit Wroclaw Zoo.

Subjects were interesting including how to design for conservation, how to satisfy both the need for a natural enriched habitats and visitor-friendly enclosures.

We discussed the potential for recycling and repurposing enclosures and elements of enclosures, Economy in Zoo Design with the theme “Cheap doesn’t need to be bad”, the similarities between designing rescue/rehab centres and zoos and finally climate change and zero waste when designing zoos.

We learned how to calculate the carbon footprint for the zoo, which supports setting targets for the Carbon Free Dining initiative in Tibor’s Fish and Chip Shop.

Carbon Free Dining adds 99p to the bill of diners in Tibor’s Fish and Chip Shop; each 99p plants a life-changing fruit tree in the developing world, supporting villages and communities in becoming self-sufficient and sustainable.

Two other members of the team made a shorter journey to the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate for the Toymaster toy show, meeting new suppliers and researching new stock lines.

Conferences, shows and visits like this support the sharing of ideas, best practice and a wealth of experience from Zoo and industry professionals.

Over the coming weeks we will be encouraging visitors and followers to reduce their waste as we approach World Ocean’s Day o June 8.

Just this weekend two stories hit the press featuring the death of marine animals due to the ingestion of plastic.

A six-year-old sperm whale – sperm whales can live to be 70 years old - washed up on the island of Sicily with a large amount of plastic in his stomach, and a dolphin washed ashore in Florida with a 2-foot plastic shower hose in his stomach.

Fast food giant McDonalds recently came in for criticism for the introduction of paper straws, customer arguments centre around how unpleasant they are to use or how it makes no sense when the lids are still plastic.

Every year 8.5 billion plastic straws are thrown away in the United Kingdom – an average of 130 straws per person every year, the majority will go straight to landfill and ultimately our oceans.

Every year one million birds and 100,000 marine dwellers die from the ingestion of this plastic.

Some items, like plastic bottles, can take 450 years to degrade, meaning they will be here long after we have gone – that is not a legacy we want to leave future generations.

In 2018, we took the steps to reduce our usage of single use plastics, we no longer stock plastic bottled water, we have substituted plastic cutlery and stirrers with biodegradable versions, individual sauce and milk sachets have been replaced with refillable containers and vegware/recycled cardboard containers in place of polystyrene containers.

This continues in 2019 as we research alternatives to cling film for our cafes and seek children’s drinks cartons which do not have plastic straws and have transformed a section of our gift shop into a “plastic alternatives” area which includes beeswax wraps, bamboo toothbrushes and zero waste toothpaste and shampoo bars.