SeaWorld Eliminates Plastic Bags

The Move Is Being Phased In At Its 10 Theme Park Locations

SeaWorldTheme park company SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has announced that it will no longer offer plastic shopping bags at its locations across the United States. The move is being phased in at its 10 theme park locations, and will be completely in effect by next spring, the company says. Park gift shops will offer paper bags made from 100% recycled paper or guests can choose to purchase SeaWorld-branded reusable bags.

"This is a significant change for our company, one we hope will provide a model for our industry overall," said Jim Atchison, president and CEO 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."

SeaWorld, which also operates Busch Gardens locations in Florida and Virginia as well as Sesame Place in Pennsylvania, says the move will keep an estimated 4 million plastic bags from entering the environment each year. The company began testing paper-bag use at SeaWorld San Diego in 2011, when the park discontinued the use of plastic gift bags to mark the opening of its new Turtle Reef attraction. SeaWorld is now the largest theme park operator to eliminate plastic bags from its parks. Walt Disney World has also considered the switch to paper, but according to the Orlando Sentinel, the company found that "plastic bags are more durable and that humidity can make it difficult to adequately store paper bags."