School children from St Marks C of E Primary School in Tunbridge Wells have been the first people in the world to experience The Loop, a brand-new recycling initiative which launched today at Sea Life Brighton ahead of World Sea Turtle Day on 16 June.
The installation, which is the brainchild of Sea Life Brighton’s manager Max Leviston, aims to educate visitors about the recycling process – creating an understanding of the entire recycling ‘loop’.
Max comments: “As a society, we are very aware of recycling but I have been shocked by how few of our visitors actually know what happens once they put their waste into a recycling bin. One child even suggested that it simply goes into a different landfill site! With The Loop, we are hoping to inform our visitors about what recycling means and why it is so important for our oceans, in fact, for the whole planet.”
Part-funded by Coca-Cola Great Britain, The Loop will encourage every person who purchases a bottled drink from Sea Life Brighton to responsibly recycle their waste. Ultimately, the aquarium hopes that The Loop will recycle 20,000 plastic bottles each year, the equivalent of what Sea Life Brighton sells annually.
For each bottle that is recycled, Coca-Cola Great Britain will donate 5p to the Sea Life Trust, an independent charity which works throughout the world to help endangered marine wildlife, and educate people on the dangers and risks to the world’s waters.
To make the installation as engaging as possible for younger visitors, each will be invited to post their own plastic drinks bottle into the new machine, watch it zip away to a secret inner bottle bank and then collect a neatly pressed new pop-badge made from earlier recycled bottles.
Sea Life Brighton hopes that, eventually, every item of furniture in its café will be made from recycled plastics gathered through The Loop. Initial trials of the installation have created enough recycled material to form 50 chairs, which are already in situ at the aquarium.
The Loop will also raise awareness of plastic pollution - one of the biggest threats to our oceans and marine life. The hazard posed by plastic pollution is now so great that it is the focus of a major new campaign by the global Sea Life centre network.
In the recycling stakes however, Sea Life Brighton is leading the way, just as it did last year with the first of a series of new interactive marine conservation exhibitions called Conservation Cove.
Max continues: “We are passionate about conservation at Sea Life Brighton, and many of the dangers of plastic pollution really hit home with us. For example, sea turtles are particularly susceptible to injury and death from waste plastics in the ocean and as Sea Life Brighton is home to much-loved giant green sea turtle Lulu, it is an issue that we feel particularly strongly about. We want to encourage people to come to Sea Life Brighton this World Sea Turtle Day to find out about the dangers posed to these beautiful creatures and commit to positive change.”
The initiative has been part-funded by Coca-Cola Great Britain as part of their work to promote sustainable packaging and recycling. Since 2012 all bottles and cans it produces have been 100 per cent recyclable and every single bottle contains up to 25 per cent recycled plastic with an ambition to get this even higher.
Liz Lowe, Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Great Britain said: “Our bottles are valuable and we want to see more of them recycled. We don’t want to see them end up where they should not be or in the sea and later this year we will unveil a new sustainable packaging strategy to help us get more of our bottles back. Educating people about the benefits of recycling is important, so we’re delighted to be working with Sea Life Brighton to help raise awareness of what happens when you recycle your bottle. We hope this new installation will encourage more people to recycle more often.”