Conservation

Green Team Program

The mission of the Green Team is to pursue the efficient and sustainable use of resources utilized in the operation of the Zoo while educating the staff and public on the importance of conservation.

Our goal is to follow the three R’s:

  • Reduce your use of electricity, water, gas, and more.

  • Re-use items as much as possible and buy reusable items instead of disposable items.

  • Recycle as much as possible and buy items that are recyclable or have been made from recycled materials.

We challenge everyone to reduce their resource consumption as well.

Washington Park Zoo’s In-house Activities

Here is a list of some of the things that the Washington Park Zoo is doing to conserve resources.
Animal Care
  • Re-use fruit cups, margarine containers, etc when preparing food in the Animal Commissary.

  • Re-use items for enrichment such as tires, phone books, newspaper, burlap, cardboard boxes, paper towel tubes, etc.

  • Use commercial recycled paper bedding, shredded office mail, and used newspapers for small animal bedding

Electricity
  • Use of LED lights in the Zoo 

  • Shutting lights off when out of the room

  • Turn off the computer at the end of the day

  • Use energy-saving settings to set the computer to “sleep” during the day when not in use or turn off the monitor when away from the desk

  • Include skylights in new exhibits to save on the need to use artificial light

  • When can be done safely and sufficiently we are using natural sunlight during the day to illuminate the inside the buildings and discontinue the use of electricity.

Heating and Cooling
  • Keep doors and windows closed while heating or cooling

  • In buildings without animals, turn down the thermostat at night in winter and up in summer.

  • Use windows, doors, and fans for cooling during warm days.

Office Supplies
  • Cut used paper into squares for notepaper

  • Re-use envelopes for in-house communication, deposits, etc.

  • Use used paper for printing draft documents and copying for in-house documents

  • Print and copy double-sided as much as possible

  • Use e-mails for memos and other in-house communication as much as possible

  • Use a central bulletin board instead of multiple memos

  • Use e-mail and website for communication with other zoos and organizations

  • Recycle ink cartridges

  • Re-use manila folders and filing folders by using new labels.

  • Purchase office supplies that contain recycled fiber as much as possible physically and economically

  • Purchase office supplies that are printed with soy ink when possible physically and economically

  • Store data and documents electronically instead of printing

  • Brochures are designed for minimum waste (ex. - new zoo brochure is one two-sided panel, outreach brochure includes a registration form that can be mailed without an envelope, etc.)

  • Rubber bands from commissary vegetables saved for zoo staff office supplies.

Cleaning
  • Use washable towels when able, instead of paper towels for cleaning, drying hands, dishes, etc.

  • Wash only full loads of laundry

  • Use re-useable vinyl table clothes or cloth

  • Be water conscious when cleaning

  • Prudent when using cleaning supplies

  • Most public trash cans are bagless

General
  • Trash-to-treasure: use other city department’s unwanted items 

  • Request items on our WISH LIST from the public and local business to put to use in the zoo

  • Use drought-tolerant and native plants in flower beds and in exhibits to save on the need to water

  • Use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without.

  • Sell, recycle or give away unwanted equipment instead of sending it to dump

  • Buy or receive used products (used vehicles, office equipment, building materials, etc.

  • Proper battery disposal

  • Sending an email or a sharing flash drive rather than printing it on paper

  • Educating the public, staff, and volunteers through publications, education programs, signage, keeper chats, animal encounters, website, TV, the interaction between public and staff/volunteers, and more.

Visitor Services
  • Minimum use of non-biodegradable food-service items.

  • Only eco-friendly sporks are given out on request only.

  • All vendors have been asked to keep all packaging to a minimum and a message to that effect is incorporated into our purchase order forms.

  • We do not automatically bag purchases, but rather visitors bring a reusable bag or carry out their purchases to save a bag.

  • The Treehouse Giftshop offers many great eco-friendly tote bags, water bottles, and other upcycled items that make wonderful gifts for everyday use.

  • Bottle refilling station in the Zoo 

Recycling
  • Recycle office paper and mixed paper (paperboard, envelopes, books, etc.)

  • Recycle plastic bottles/containers

  • Recycle tin and aluminum cans

  • Recycle corrugated cardboard

  • Reuse/Recycle Zoo maps and visitors are not automatically given a map. They can ask for one at the front gate but we have also installed general map locations throughout the zoo.

  • Shred paper for the animals to use as bedding