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John Ball Zoo nixing plastic bottles in 2020

Plastic bottles will be a thing of the past at the John Ball Zoo.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich — At the start of the 2020 season, the John Ball Zoo says it will no longer have plastic beverage bottles on the property.

This is a continuation of the zoo's mission to inspire the community to be an active part in wildlife and environmental conservation. 

Plastic soft drink bottles will be replaced by canned beverages or fountain drinks, according to a press release from the zoo. Water in plastic bottles will be replaced by Boxed Water is Better. All the vending machines at the zoo will be stocked with recyclable aluminum cans. 

Two years ago the Zoo switched from plastic straws to compostable paper straws, and they also switched to items that look to be plastic, but are actually compostable, including; forks, spoons, knives, cups, and napkins.

“John Ball Zoo has steadily been eliminating the use of single use plastics over the past several years,” the zoo's CEO Peter D’Arienzo said in the press release. “When we switched to compostable paper straws we saved over 8,000 plastic straws a year from not ending up in the landfill and waterways. The elimination of plastic beverage bottles continues these important efforts.” 

RELATED: That's the final straw! John Ball Zoo switches to paper straws in conservation efforts

John Ball Zoo anticipates moving away from plastic beverage bottles will save 37,134 bottles in just one year. 

"We are beyond excited to be partnering with John Ball Zoo, right here in West Michigan, where Boxed Water started this journey to make our planet a better place,” said Boxed Water CEO Daryn Kuipers. “We hope this partnership and the zoo's sustainability efforts will create ripple effects within our community. And ultimately get people to think differently about how they consume and purchase products." 

The zoo said it will participate in Boxed Water's Better Planet campaign and encourages its guest to do the same. Patrons of the zoo can post photos of themselves at the zoo with their Boxed Water on social media with #BetterPlanet and in turn, Boxed Water works with the National Forest Foundation to plant two trees for each post. Many of the trees, according to zoo officials, are planted in Michigan. 

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