OKC Zoo encourages the public to take action to limit plastic consumption and contribute to a healthy planet in a fun, rewarding way.

The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is calling on consumers to participate in this year’s Plastic Free Ecochallenge, July 1 through 31, and become champions for eliminating single-use plastics to improve the health of our planet for all living things.

Single-use plastics including grocery bags, straws and bottles are creating huge ecological harm, especially in oceans and other aquatic habitats. This includes Oklahoma’s streams, rivers and lakes where plastic pollution is a common sight. The Ecochallenge runs Saturday, July 1 through Monday, July 31, and is open to the public and participation is free thanks to a network of zoo and aquarium sponsors including the OKC Zoo. Participants will earn eco-points for using less plastic, recycling, switching to reusable items and for pledging to make other eco-friendly changes in their daily lives. The OKC Zoo encourages fans to join its team at https://bit.ly/OKCZooEcochallengeTeam2023, and help the Zoo earn a top ranking among competing teams.

“Participating in the Ecochallenge with the OKC Zoo is a fun way to learn how to reduce waste, interact with our experts and connect with a larger cause,” said Kelly Dillow, OKC Zoo’s sustainably coordinator.

Small actions have big impacts and last year, the OKC Zoo team of 176 participants, picked up 4,693 pieces of litter and completed 446 advocacy actions, earing fourth place amongst all participating organizations for the year. While visiting the Zoo, guests can help reduce plastic by utilizing in-park recycling to dispose of plastic water bottles and aluminum cans. The OKC Zoo is a premiere Oklahoma destination offering Pepsi’s canned Aquafina® water in all of its vending machines, and these cans can be recycled in the park. Guests are also encouraged to pack their own snacks to minimize plastic and bring reusable water bottles when visiting the Zoo. Through a partnership with Shape Your Future, a program of TSET, the Zoo recently installed five new hydration stations across the park for zoo-goers to enjoy.

Plastic Free Ecochallenge, is a global initiative that inspires action to reduce and refuse single-use plastics. Participants can curate their own personal challenge for the month of July and create habits to reduce plastic consumption, ultimately benefitting their own lives, communities and the planet. Plastics pollute waterways, break down within crucial ecosystems and harm wildlife, which ingest and become ensnared in plastic debris. With the goal of preventing this cycle from continuing, Ecochallenge.org began this 31-day global effort, inspired by the Australian-founded initiative, Plastic Free July. EcoChallenge is an online educational platform that challenges participants to act on environmental issues. Single-use plastics are a major threat to all species, including ourselves, so with the 31-day challenge, EcoChallenge hopes to inspire participants to reduce and refuse single-use plastics in July and beyond.

Together with the OKC Zoo, join the Plastic Free Ecochallenge movement to help create a plastic free world! The Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with the last entry at 4 p.m. Purchase Zoo admission tickets online at okczoo.org/tickets and bypass the entry lines and. Located at the crossroads of I-44 and I-35, the OKC Zoo is a proud member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Alliance of Museums, Oklahoma City’s Adventure District and an Adventure Road partner. Regular admission is $16 for adults and $13 for children ages 3-11 and seniors ages 65 and over. Children two and under are admitted free. Looking for a year of Zoo adventures? Consider a 12-month, ZOOfriends Membership Passport to the OKC Zoo providing general admission year-round and exclusive offers while supporting the Zoo’s ongoing animal care and conservation programs. Memberships can be purchased at okczoo.org/membership. Stay connected with the Zoo on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Linktree and TikTok, and by visiting our blog stories.