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Recycling at theme parks

Recycling at theme parksTheme parks attracts thousands of tourists in the UK. They provide thrills and entertainment, making them a great choice for a day out. However, despite them being a great destination, the number of guests can lead to a massive amount of waste. Here we discuss what theme parks can do to ensure as much waste is recycled as possible.

Bins
It is a simple thing to implement, but planning is still involved when it comes to placing recycle bins around the park. When people are busy having a great time, recycling is sometimes quite low on their priorities, so theme parks have a responsibility to ensure it is as easy as possible for guests to recycle. Have a sufficient number of bins so that guests can always easily access one. Target high volume areas (around toilets and food areas) as this will be where the most waste will be. Also ensure you have bins throughout the queuing areas of the park. Customers do not want to have to leave the queue in order to get rid of their rubbish and this will lead to more littering. Also, ensure your bins are consistent. Use the same symbols and style of bin throughout the theme park so customers can easily identify them.

Lighting
Theme parks require a lot of lighting, especially on the rides themselves. Being able to use LED lights and eco-friendly light bulbs wherever possible is essential. It can be complicated to set up but having a renewable energy program in place will benefit you in the long run. You can also convert food waste to generate energy for electricity.

Food and drink
Water is a necessity for everyone, so this is a large area you should combat to ensure unnecessary waste is not created. Try and encourage customers to bring their own reusable bottles by providing free water fountains around the park. This is both convenient to the customer, avoids single use plastic bottles being sold in large quantities and will significantly reduce your plastic waste.
At your food stations, try and use reusable cutlery if possible. If not, try and use cutlery and napkins that have been produced from recycled materials. If possible, try and team up with a local charity and get left over food donated to those in need.

Greenery
Not only is greenery great for the environment, it helps improve the look of the theme park and improves the mood of guests. Use trees effectively around seating areas to create natural and tranquil areas for guests to have a sit down and relax. Using greenery to do this avoids you having to have as many indoor areas that require lighting and air conditioning.

Staff
It is not just about the customers at the theme park and worrying about the waste they create. You also need to consider the staff at the park. You need to provide enough training on your recycling program and ensure that all members of staff are on board and contribute to the cause. Get them to try and bring their own packed lunch, car share if possible and only use disposable products that you actually need. If your staff are fully behind the recycling program, they can help ensure the guests follow the rules as well.

Rewards
Consider rewarding customers who help with the recycling program. You can get vending machines that reward people for recycling and returning their bottles. If customers bring their own cups for hot drinks, offer a small discount. There are many ways you can use small rewards to encourage the behaviour you desire.

Paper
There are a few small changes you can make to reduce the amount of paper your theme park produces. Ensure customers can access their tickets online and just show a barcode or QR code at the entrance as opposed to having to physically print their tickets. Also, have an app for your theme park. Not only will this stop you having to print and hand out thousands of maps each day, it also helps improve the customer experience as the app will not only show them a map, but it can show them the best routes to get to the rides they want and also real time waiting times so they can plan their day more efficiently.

Some success stories
There are many theme parks that are already doing a lot in order to try and reduce the amount of waste they create. Disney has been known for trying to tackle this problem for years. Due to the sheer volume of guests that visit Disney theme parks each day, it is a massive challenge to tackle waste. They recycle over a dozen materials which equates to thousands of tons each year. They used recycled energy to cool their parks and even recycle human waste from their theme parks and hotels so that it can be used as fertilisers on farms. They have also teamed up with a charity and donated used soaps and bottles of shampoos from their hotels which are recycled and used to create hygiene products for people in need around the world. SeaWorld removed all single use plastic from their theme parks including single use plastic bags and plastic straws.

A Copenhagen park called Tivoli started a recycling deposit-based program back in 1998 where customers paid a deposit for a cup which they then got refunded once they returned the cup at the end of the day. This simple scheme has effectively been used across theme parks, festivals and sports events.

Merlin Theme Parks (which includes Alton Towers, Legoland, Thorpe Park and more) have also teamed up with Coca Cola. The initiative offers half price entry to the group’s theme parks in exchange for empty plastic bottles being handed in to get recycled.

From the examples above, theme parks are trying hard to combat the issue of waste. Some of the larger parks are putting in large initiatives to combat this problem but there is also room for improvement. Also, some theme parks are potentially lagging and should follow the example of others to ensure they are doing as much as possible to reduce waste. The first thing any theme park should do is carry out a waste audit. From here, they can identify which areas they are struggling with and have these as a priority.
 
To find out more about how we can help you with your waste disposal needs, please contact us on 0800 083 7807 or visit our website for further information.

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