SeaWorld removes foam bowls, plates from parks

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is removing products made of polystyrene foam from its 12 parks.

Officials at the Florida-based theme park company said Tuesday the removal of bowls, plates and trays made of the material will prevent an estimated 14 million pieces of polystyrene foam products from entering the environment each year.

Although the material is good for keeping food warm and is comparatively inexpensive, SeaWorld officials say it's resistant to decomposition and difficult to recycle.

SeaWorld Vice President of Culinary Operations Marcus Van Vleet says reducing the company's environmental footprint is an important part of the company's mission.

"We slowly phased it out. This process started at the beginning of the year, and as we ran out, we switched to 100 percent recyclable material," Van Vleet explains.

SeaWorld has previously removed plastic straws and plastic coffee stirrers from its parks. Vanvleet says all dishes are biodegradable.

"I can speak for anyone who works at SeaWorld, that this was the right thing to do, and it's an exciting time," Van Vleet says.

In recent years, Baltimore, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon have banned businesses from using foam food containers.