Sustainable Zoo Practices
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.
Tell us what you do at home to be “green!” Post to our Facebook page and share your great ideas with all our fans, too!
Roger Williams Park Zoo’s commitment to conserving wildlife and wild places starts right here at the Zoo, where we strive to use best practices in everyday operations to contribute to a healthier planet for all. As we foster awareness of the importance of conservation, it is also our duty to help conserve our Earth’s resources through environmentally friendly behaviors. See what green practices your RWPZoo implements and learn how you can do your part to conserve energy and resources.
WE CONSERVE ENERGY & WATER
- Heating systems recover and recirculate warm air instead of releasing it outdoors.
- We utilize energy efficient motors and LED lighting in our offices, buildings, and outdoor facilities. Not only do LED lights consume less energy, but the bulbs also use energy more efficiently. These newer lighting systems monitor our usage and keep events like Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular shining bright while conserving power.
- Newer pools for animals such as anteaters and elephants have filtering systems to purify water. In the past we had to empty pools every month and refill them with fresh water. With these new systems, we’re saving about 1,000,000 gallons of water per year just in the elephant pool.
- 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.
WE REDUCE, REUSE, & RECYCLE
Wherever we can, we reduce, reuse, and recycle. Instead of throwing away cardboard boxes or paper towel rolls, we first reuse them for animal treat enrichment. We also have comprehensive procedures for recycling paper, cardboard, cans, bottles, clear plastic bags and wooden pallets. These items are collected on Zoo grounds and then delivered to Rhode Island Resource Recovery.
We also encourage guests to join us in recycling, reusing, and reducing waste. Refillable water bottle stations are conveniently located throughout the Zoo. We’ve also gone digital – offering digital membership cards and an interactive online map in the place of paper brochures.
We deliver the following materials 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; 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
The veterinary staff at Roger Williams Park Zoo regulates all veterinary-related biological and medical waste and storage. All first aid-related biological and medical waste and storage is regulated by our contracted Emergency Medical Technicians
Recycling Your Phone Helps Save Gorillas
The Zoo’s e-waste recycling program, Gorillas on the Line, allows visitors to recycle used cell phones and handheld electronics. Recycling your phone not only prevents hazardous materials from entering our environment but helps protect gorillas and other endangered species habitats. Likewise, all funds raised through this initiative directly support conservation projects through Gorilla Saving Animals from Extinction (SAFE) programs.
Join us in the fight to protect wildlife! A collection box is available at the Zoo’s main entrance.
All organic waste at the Zoo gets composted. Natural waste, such as animal bedding materials, manure, leaves, grass clippings, vegetable and fruit peelings get delivered to a composting facility twice weekly. Zoobilee! Feast with the Beasts 2017 was the Zoo’s greenest event on record, composting just under a ton of food scraps which otherwise would have been landfill bound. Green events captured more than two tons of organic material that was sent to a local composting facility
WE HOST GREEN EVENTS
Celebrating at the Zoo has never looked so good! By composting food scraps, events like Zoobilee can save tons of organic material from entering the landfill. Recycling cups at the Zoo’s annual Brew at the Zoo fundraising event also saves hundreds of materials ending up as trash.
WE OFFER ECO-FRIENDLY SHOPPING & DINING
All our concessions operate with “green” practices in mind and a portion of the profits come back to support Zoo animal care and education conservation programs. Reusable cups are sold at our restaurants and the elimination of plastic bags at our gift shops takes us one step closer to creating zero waste and reducing plastic consumption.
WE’RE PROUD OF OUR GREEN TEAM
A group of dedicated Roger Williams Park Zoo staff meets monthly to measure our own institutional environmental efforts to maintain a sustainable workplace. The team’s mission is to make the Roger Williams Park Zoo an environmental ambassador for the community, its visitors, staff, and volunteers by enhancing, fostering, and inspiring green practices such as recycling, waste reduction, natural resource conservation, and education.
- Composting all animal bedding and waste, and food scraps from Zoo events
- Marker recycling
- Reusable cutlery
- Aluminum canned water instead of plastic single use water bottles for sale on Zoo grounds, and refillable water bottle stations
- Zero trash internal events
- Comprehensive recycling policy including e-waste, Styrofoam, vinyl gloves, cigarette butt, and juice pouches
- Zoocamp Trash Challenge
- Bicycle racks at Zoo and Carousel
- Hand Dryers instead of paper towels in some restrooms
- Electric charging stations for vehicles
- Worked with Terracycle, Recycle Together RI Initiative, RI Worm Farmers Cooperative
- Recycled cups at the Zoo’s annual Brew at the Zoo fundraising event and Reusable cups sold by Zoo restaurants
- Elimination of plastic bags at Zoo gift shops
- Installed light and water sensors in staff and public areas to reduce water and electricity usage.
- Staffed tables at special events including Party for the Planet and Spooky Zoo to educate the public about green practices
- In efforts to help combat the Palm Oil crisis, the RWP Zoo Green Team and the El Paso Zoo signed a letter from Robert Hii and the Orangutan Alliance that inspired the State Government of Sabah to assert its claim as the sole owner of Riparian habitats. Government officials are now removing illegally planted palm trees.
You can make a difference! Every day we make choices in our lives that affect our planet, wildlife, and each other. Living sustainably reduces the amount of Earth’s resources you use and in turn, helps us protect it.
By making simple changes to your lifestyle, together we can create a brighter future for generations to come.
- Limit the amount of energy you use. Turn off lights; Unplug idle electronics; Switch to LED bulbs.
- Use eco-friendly products. Look for the FSC logo on furniture, paper goods and flooring to protect the rainforest; “Follow the Frog” and look for the Rainforest Alliance seal on products ranging from bananas and chocolate to coffee and flowers; Buy products with less packaging or environmentally friendly packaging.
- Reuse & recycle. Choose to buy only items you need and donate the things you no longer use; Compost yard waste and kitchen waste and use it to nurture your plants naturally.
Thank you for helping us make a difference for our environment!
P.S. We’d love to hear what you do at home to be “green!” Post it on Instagram using #SustainableRWPZoo and we’ll share your great ideas with all our fans, too!