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Green Initiatives at the ABQ BioPark

Elimination of plastic bags, eco-friendly straws among several ways the BioPark is greening up.

March 20, 2018 - If you come to the ABQ BioPark, don't expect to find any plastic bags. That's because the BioPark and its partner organizations are greening up.

Plastic is polluting the nation's waterways, with straws and other plastics threatening wildlife. According to strawlessocean.org, Americans use more than 500 million straws every day with most of them ending up in the ocean. 

Taste at the ABQ BioPark, the organization that manages BioPark catering along with the Zoo and Aquarium cafes, has implemented a number of green initiatives to combat the plastic plague.

"We replaced our old straws with eco-friendly compostable and recyclable straws, got rid of lids, and all of our cups and disposable-ware we use are compostable," said Norah Kissell, catering sales manager for Taste at the ABQ BioPark. 

Wildlife Trading, the company that manages the Zoo, Aquarium and Botanic Garden gift shops, is doing its part by eliminating plastic bags. Visitors may purchase a small reusable cloth bag for 35 cents or a large bag for 55 cents. If the visitors make a purchase of $35 or more, the bags are free.  

"This has been very well received and we have had many positive comments," said Kathy Wagner, southwest regional manager for Wildlife Trading. "Our company is working toward the elimination of all plastics in our product packaging as well." 

Besides its fight against plastic, the ABQ BioPark participates in a number of other green initiatives. 

  • The facility recycling program includes plastic bottles and small plastic waste, aluminum cans, cardboard and paper in conjunction with City of Albuquerque Solid Waste Department. All metal waste is recycled at a separate dumpster and sent to a recycle facility. 
  • All green waste is sent to a compost facility for processing.
  • Taste at the ABQ BioPark utilizes the ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden's Heritage Farm vegetables for catering during harvest season. 
  • The company who filters Taste's friers also repurposes all of the leftover grease.
  • The ABQ BioPark has a conservation committee that meets monthly to discuss conservation initiatives. Some current initiatives that the BioPark is participating in include supporting local pollinator habitat and saola conservation

"The ABQ BioPark is dedicated to conservation," said Matt Eschenbrenner, ABQ BioPark Conservation Committee chair. "Not only do we participate in wildlife conservation initiatives locally and even internationally, but we also are making efforts to green up our operations. We're proud to partner with organizations that share our conservation ethic."

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