We are very proud to announce that the owners of Vista Marina, the beautiful new restaurant at the Two Oceans Aquarium, have taken up the Plastic Free July challenge and are now on a journey to become plastic-free. The change includes Vista Marina Restaurant, Café V at the I&J Ocean Exhibit, the Snack Stop at the I&J Children’s Play Centre, and the ice-cream parlour at the entrance to the Aquarium. "I am extremely pleased that the team at Vista Marina has taken its first large steps towards plastic freedom. This is no mean feat and their determination to do the right thing for our oceans is fantastic," says Two Oceans Aquarium Communications & Sustainability Manager Helen Lockhart.
Thelma Vogiatzis and her team have committed to using only compostable plastics during the month of July, meaning our building is becoming ever-more plastic-free by the day! This is a brilliant commitment and we are very pleased to have partnered, in service of the environment, with these passionate people.
Thelma says the move to non-plastic alternatives has been coming for a long time. “As a family, we have a long history with the Aquarium – I was a member even before meeting my husband in 2003! Through spending time at, and working with, the Aquarium, we have educated ourselves and our kids about the issue of plastics. This is why I love the Aquarium – my kids have benefitted from this awareness, and now they’re the first to refuse bags and straws and balloons when we go out. I admire them for that.”
None of the food offerings available at the Aquarium will now be in single-use plastic. Instead, Thelma has switched to non-plastic alternatives like cardboard, wood and PLA, which is better for turtles, fish, seals, penguins, and all other life in the ocean. “We are just so excited that we can take the stance starting with Plastic Free July,” Thelma says. “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do and we’re proud to have finally implemented this.”
“In terms of public awareness, we’ve trained our staff to fully understand and communicate our reasons for not offering single-use plastics at the restaurant,” says Thelma. “We can offer a biodegradable straw should a customer insist. For cocktails, we have great black and white paper straws. We use wooden sticks for stirrers and for ice creams, and we’ve sourced biodegradable coffee cups. I love speaking to our guests, making them aware, and they’ve been very positive.
“The next step is to ask our suppliers to put everything in cardboard boxes for us, so that they don’t enter the Aquarium with plastic bags!” In 2011, the Two Oceans Aquarium issued a memorandum to all staff, banning plastic bags from the building.
“We feel that standing with the Two Oceans Aquarium is going to be powerful; with our voices together we can make that change,” says Thelma. “Once you see the damage that happens to our creatures, our ocean, it doesn’t take much to make the shift and decide, ‘Hey, I don’t need that plastic, I don’t need that balloon, I don’t need that straw.’ We’re so happy to be able to use our voice in this way.”
Be sure to support Vista Marina* as they take on this journey – they are making major leaps for a plastic-free world! You’ll be hard-pressed to find better views while enjoying more amazing Mediterranean fare. Join us in commending Vista Marina for their pro-planet choice to refuse!
*Two Oceans Aquarium members get 10% off their breakfast and lunch bills at Vista Marina.
Until the end of September, Vista Marina is running a great winter promotion: buy one and get one free from their tapas and cocktail menus! Offer valid from 4pm till 10pm every day.
What is PLA?
It looks like plastic, feels like plastic, but it is actually a non-plastic alternative known as PLA. PLA stands for polylactic acid, which is made from renewable and sustainable corn or sugar cane materials and not from oil (which is non-renewable). PLA can go straight into the compost to decay just like other plant material.
Estimates are that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean, by weight, than fish. From the tiniest organism to the largest ocean behemoths, plastic poses a threat to all organisms in the ocean. Over a million seabirds are killed each year due to plastic pollution and with over 51 trillion pieces of microplastics in the sea, microscopic plankton are feeding on plastic which causes the plastic to enter the food chain… Our food chain. Phasing out single-use plastic is just one of the many ways that the Aquarium and partners hope to raise awareness of the crisis of plastic pollution in the ocean.