SHAMU SUPPORTS SUSTAINABLE
Beyond Well-Known Wildlife Efforts, 10 Parks Add Environmental Commitment in Everyday Ways
Orlando, Fla. (October 30, 2008) /PRNewswire/ — From shuttles fueled with hydrogen to dinner plates made from sugarcane, the 10 theme parks owned by Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) -- including SeaWorld and Busch Gardens -- are launching initiatives to tackle some of today's most pressing environmental challenges in the areas of waste, water, food and fuel.
Eco-minded vacationers know and love the parks for a commitment to wildlife conservation that spans more than five decades, and can now see and support even more environmental efforts during a park visit.
"Our company is committed to environmental stewardship with our day-to-day business decisions," said Jim Atchison, BEC's President and Chief Operating Officer. "It's not always the easy way or inexpensive way, but it is the right way."
Culinary: Serving Sustainable Sustenance
All of the seafood served to guests -- and even the salmon fed to Shamu -- will be purchased from sustainably-managed fisheries that promote environmentally responsible stewardship. This change affects more than 220,000 pounds of seafood and is on track for completion by early 2009.
BEC works with the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Certification Council in sourcing sustainable seafood options. Both are international, non-profit organizations that promote environmentally responsible fishing, fish farms, processing and food safety.
Partnering with the Rainforest Alliance, the parks also serve coffee and chocolate purchased from growers who meet demanding social and environmental standards. This global certification program ensures food is farmed and harvested in ways that protect wildlife, habitats and people.
Waste Management: Going Beyond the Recycling Bin
These efforts extend past what's on the plates … to the plates. While some of the plates, forks, knives and spoons in many of the park restaurants look and feel like plastic, they are actually made from renewable resources such as sugarcane and vegetable starch.
The first of the theme park companies to incorporate such efforts, BEC worked with suppliers for more than a year to identify new products that could meet the demanding needs of parks that accommodate millions of guests a year. Products must be microwavable, freezer-safe, oil-resistant and capable of handling hot or cold food and beverages … and made from renewable resources.
The new products will replace 12.5 million pieces of dinnerware the parks dispose of each year.
The parks recycle more than 50 percent of all their waste, including animal and construction waste as well as traditional recycled materials. In 2007, the parks recycled more than 1 million pounds of food waste by sending it to soil amendment and mulching operations instead of landfills. Building on this success, each park continues to expand aggressive recycling programs with innovative new applications.
- Busch Gardens Williamsburg employs a new single-stream recycling process in which every piece of recyclable material is removed by hand. This one program keeps more than 1,340 tons of trash out of area landfills - nearly the weight of the steel track for the park's famous dive coaster, Griffon.
- At Discovery Cove in Orlando, recycling takes "wing" with a new application. Feathers shed through molting by the park's birds are collected and donated to the Feather Distribution Project, a program in which they are reused by the Pueblo tribe of the southwestern U.S. in traditional religious ceremonies, reducing the illegal trade in endangered macaws.
- Busch Gardens Tampa recycles traditional materials like plastics and metals, and even 3 million pounds of animal manure each year.
H20: Reusing a Natural Resource
When irrigating and maintaining the park's beautiful gardens and lush landscaping, horticulture teams conserve natural resources by reusing water - including collecting rain water and even condensation from air conditioners.
Innovative moisture sensing technology conserves water by factoring in plant material type, sun exposure, amount of rainfall, and seasonal adjustments when watering. In many areas throughout all the parks, Xeriscaping (from the Greek word "xeros" or "dry") is employed, a technique using drought-resistant plants that require little or no irrigation such as cactus, agave and junipers.
BEC takes the high road in environmental programs with two new hydrogen-fueled guest shuttles at SeaWorld Orlando. The park joins forces with Ford Motor Company, Chevron and the Florida Energy Office as part of a pilot program to determine the efficiency of hydrogen-fueled vehicles. The shuttles' hydrogen-powered engines deliver up to 99.7 percent reduction in C02 compared to gasoline engines.
Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) is one of the nation's most prominent theme park operators, with ten theme parks that host provide more than 25 million guests each year. The parks have a 50-year commitment to wildlife conservation, animal care, research and education, and care for one of the world's largest zoological animal collections - more than 65,000 animals, including more than 100 endangered, threatened and at-risk species. In addition, the non-profit SeaWorld & Busch Gardens Conservation Fund supports wildlife research, animal rescue and rehabilitation, habitat protection and education throughout the U.S. and around the world. BEC parks include SeaWorld parks in Orlando, San Diego, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas; Busch Gardens Africa and Adventure Island in Tampa Bay, Fla.; Busch Gardens Europe and Water Country USA in Williamsburg, Va.; Aquatica, SeaWorld's water park in Orlando; Discovery Cove in Orlando; and Sesame Place in Langhorne, Pa. near Philadelphia.
-- Busch Entertainment Corporation --