Learning about plastic might not be the first thing you would expect to take away from a visit to the Toronto Zoo. However, educating Zoo guests about the potential benefits of plastic when used, treated and disposed of responsibly, is one of the ways that Pollution Probe, in partnership with the Toronto Zoo and GreenMantra Technologies, is helping to support the transition to a circular economy for plastic. The Plastics Pathway, located at the Toronto Zoo, has launched a new app aimed at improving communication and navigation of the on-site, interactive experience.

The new app, developed in partnership with SSA Group and Attractions.io, is aimed at optimizing the guest experience of the Plastics Pathway by providing wayfinding capabilities to navigate to points of interest, the ability to create customized itineraries and to access educational content about plastic pollution and innovative solutions in real-time. Eventually, it will also include information about upcoming events, both at the Zoo and in the local community.

“We are very excited about the introduction of this digital platform as a complement to the educational displays and installations physically located on-site at the Zoo,” says Christopher Hilkene, chief executive officer at Pollution Probe. “The Plastics Pathway highlights innovative approaches to addressing the challenge of plastic pollution, and this app provides a new way for guests to learn about them and how they can be a part of the solution.”

A soft launch of the Plastics Pathway took place at the end of 2022 with a number of educational displays and activities introduced to increase public understanding and engagement around plastic pollution and important efforts to address it. Pathway elements include those related to plastic in the environment, collection, sortation and recycling, sustainable design and recycled content and upcycling.

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“With more than 1.2 million guests visiting your Toronto Zoo each year, we’re in a unique position to educate our community about conservation science and sustainability,” says Dolf DeJong, CEO of the Toronto Zoo. “Plastic is a reality in our society, and the plastics pathway app will help people better understand our relationship with these products and ensure they are reused and disposed of responsibility. It’s a great tool for our guests, who will leave feeling empowered to make small changes in their day-to-day lives that will help lead to big results”.

Made possible through generous support from the Province of Ontario, the Plastics Pathway provides an opportunity to showcase important efforts underway to address plastic pollution in the environment, an issue of critical importance in Ontario and beyond. In addition to the app, the Toronto Zoo offered different plastic-related educational activities and displays throughout the summer. Eco-challenges, scavenger hunts and sustainability workshops along the Pathway helped to further engage guests as part of the solution to plastic pollution.

“We take great pride in our collaboration with the Plastics Pathway and the Toronto Zoo, enhancing the exhibit and elevating the guest experience through the introduction of the Attractions.io app,” says Greg Laugero, vice president of SPARKd Implementations at SSA Group. “Within SSA, our passion lies in fostering awareness about sustainability and conservation through technological advancements, underscoring the potential for synergy between education and innovation.”

To learn more about the Plastic Pathways, visit https://www.pollutionprobe.org/plastics-pathway/

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