Goal update

Baseline: 8.5% diversion rate

Current (Q3 2020): 70.6% diversion rate

Goal (2021): 30% diversion rate

Recent Achievements

Internal Event Waste & Recycling

In February, 20 waste and recycling containers were purchased and placed at various locations for internal events.


In 2018, departments across the Zoo worked together to eliminate Styrofoam use in dining services by changing purchasing policies.


The Zoo composts waste generated from zoo-keeping such as animal waste and straw bedding. Compost weight was added to the diversion rate beginning in 2018, which previously was based solely on recycling. Composting increased the diversion rate approximately 40%. An increase in browse for animal diets and enrichment has increased compost generation.

Waste Characterization Study

A waste characterization study was completed at two locations to evaluate the the effectiveness of new signage and determine what materials were in Zoo trash. The study provided valuable data to improve recycling at the Zoo.

Waste Bin Audit

An audit was conducted to map the location and condition of all waste and recycling containers. Additionally, data was collected to understand where the most waste was being produced. The findings will inform steps to improve recycling and waste collection at the Zoo. The audit revealed opportunities for bin replacements, an additional compactor and potential locations for public-facing composting in the future.

Glass Recycling Pilot

Glass recycling collection was added in the Tree Tops restaurant area for the diversion of beer and wine bottles and other glass containers. Glass recycling has the potential to divert over 6,000 lbs of glass per year from food services, with additional potential available from events.

Straw-less Campaign

The Zoo partnered with local businesses as part of “The First Step” campaign to reduce plastic straw use. As part of this campaign, the Zoo switched from single-use plastic straws to more environmentally-friendly biodegradable paper straws.


Upcoming Efforts

Upgrading Recycling

Based on findings from the waste characterization study and waste bin audit, the Zoo will implement recommendations to improve recycling for guests, including updating signage and streamlining the recycling and waste collection process.

Our Goals