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In green initiative, Detroit Zoo looks to dump bottled water


The Detroit Zoo is trying to “wean its visitors off the bottle”—off bottled water, that is.

The zoo plans to phase out sales of bottled water over the next 2-3 years.

Sarah Pope, the zoo’s manager of environmental services, says bottled water creates lots of plastic waste and other environmental costs. In fact, it’s the number one contributor to the zoo’s plastic waste.

“One of the zoo’s main missions is not just to celebrate and save wildlife, but also to be more responsible with natural resources,” Pope says. So came about the decision to phase out bottled water.

Pope says the zoo will encourage visitors to use it by adding a number of water bottle-refilling stations.

“We’ll also be increasing the availability of water bottles--reusable ones--that guests can purchase,” Pope says. “Many of which are going to be made out of recycled comment, and also made in the USA.”

Pope concedes the zoo might lose some money in concessions—bottled water is their best-selling item. But she says the loss is minimal, and the zoo will make up some of that revenue selling re-fillable bottles.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Radio in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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