Being Green at the Zoo

Being Green at the Zoo

Our new pool for the elephants saves about 1,000,000 gallons of water per year!

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In addition to fostering awareness of the importance of conservation and environment-friendly behaviors, we strive to use best practices in everyday operations at the Zoo. 

New Construction Means Higher Standards are Met

Newer pools for animals like anteater and elephants have filtering systems to purify water. In the past we had to empty pools every month and refill them with fresh water. We are saving about 1,000,000 gallons of water per year just in the new elephant pool!

As we build new exhibits we are meeting the most recent federal energy guidelines:

New heating systems recover and recirculate warm air instead of releasing it outdoors.

We use energy efficient motors and light fixtures

The installation of Structural Insulated Panels (foam covered with thin wood panels) helps reduce the amount of lumber used in constructing new buildings. They also provide better R-Value, which means they lower energy usage which ultimately lowers carbon dioxide emissions.


Twice weekly our natural refuse, such as animal bedding materials, manure, leaves, grass clippings and vegetable and fruit peelings are picked up by our trash hauler and delivered to a composting facility.


We have comprehensive procedures for recycling paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, clear plastic bags and wooden pallets. These are collected on Zoo grounds and then delivered to the Rhode Island Resource Recovery.

The following materials are delivered to appropriate recycling or processing facilities:

Recyclable light bulbs (non-incandescent),

Batteries (including single use batteries; batteries for electronics such as cellphones, lap tops, digital cameras, cordless phones, tools, etc.); fire alarm batteries; 2-way radio batteries; Car and  truck batteries; and golf cart batteries) 

E-waste  such as computers, monitors, hard drives, printers, copiers and the like

Ink cartridges and cell phones

Waste oil and automotive filters

Oil-based paints and varnish

Scrap metal

Scrap asphalt or cement

Non-biological hazardous wastes such as turpentine, antifreeze, disinfectant, pool chemicals that cannot safely be discarded in the trash.

All veterinary-related biological and medical waste and storage is regulated by the Veterinary staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo. All first aid-related biological and medical waste and storage is regulated by our contracted Emergency Medical Technicians


We use a compactor to reduce the size of unrecyclable trash and cardboard to help minimize trash volume at the state landfill.