Archive: Cool Drink of Water on Tap at ‘Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo’

Event joins growing trend to eliminate disposable bottled water

September 6, 2016

ROYAL OAK, Mich., 

The Detroit Zoo’s 20th annual Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo on Sunday, Sept. 11, will see thousands of people running and walking – and the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) walking its talk. In lieu of handing out the customary disposable bottled water at the end of the race, the DZS will offer participants a thirst-quenching drink of H2O in a free reusable water bottle adorned with the organization’s Green Journey logo. Run Wild is among the first races in the country to eliminate bottled water.

Last year the DZS successfully weaned its 1.4 million Detroit Zoo visitors off the bottle when it discontinued the sale of bottled water on Zoo grounds. Prior to that, it was the No. 1 seller at Zoo concessions and generated nearly a quarter million dollars in annual sales – but bottled water is also the single largest contributor to plastic waste in the U.S.

“Although this decision cost us revenue, it’s more important to walk our talk and do what’s good for the environment,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO. “Run Wild participants can join us on our green journey and leave with a special souvenir.”

The Detroit Zoo sells the inexpensive reusable water bottles at concession stands year-round, which can be refilled for free at one of 20 filtered-water stations throughout the grounds. By purchasing reusable bottles or bringing their own, Zoo visitors help to keep more than 60,000 single-use bottled water containers out of landfills annually.

The water bottle program is one of many initiatives of the DZS Greenprint – a strategic plan to refine and improve daily practices and facilities at the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Zoo, develop new policies and programs, and improve green literacy in the community. In recognition of its continuous efforts in sustainability – including completion of $2-million energy efficiency improvement project and building the first anaerobic digester at any zoo in the country – the DZS last year received the top Green Award from the Association of Zoos & Aquariums and was named the 2015 Best-Managed Nonprofit by Crain’s Detroit Business.

Sponsored by Ford Motor Company, Run Wild for the Detroit Zoo includes a 5K run, 10K run, Too Wild! 5K + 10K combo and noncompetitive 1.5-mile fun walk. Online registration is available until 6 a.m. Sept. 9 at; registration will also be available at the Detroit Zoo on Sept. 9, 10 and 11. Proceeds from the event benefit the Zoo’s Ruth Roby Glancy Animal Health Complex and veterinary care for the animals.