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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.


  • 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.


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

Medical Waste

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


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


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.


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.


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.


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. Thank you for helping us make a difference for our environment!

At Home:

  • Limit your energy use: Switch to energy-efficient appliances, turn off lights when you leave a room, and unplug electronics when you’re not using them.
  • Use eco-friendly products: Choose products that are made with recycled materials, are biodegradable, and are free of harmful chemicals.
  • Look for the FSC logo: The FSC logo means that the wood used in a product was harvested from responsibly managed forests.
    • When purchasing furniture, look for pieces that are made with FSC-certified wood.
    • When purchasing paper products, look for those that are made with FSC-certified recycled paper.

At the Grocery Store:

  • Look for the Rainforest Alliance seal: The Rainforest Alliance seal or “Follow the Frog” means that the coffee or cocoa beans used in a product were grown under environmentally and socially responsible conditions.
  • Bring your own reusable bags: Avoid using disposable plastic bags and containers.
  • Buy produce from local farms: Buying local produce reduces the environmental impact of transportation and supports local farmers.
  • Drink bird-friendly coffee: Bird-friendly coffee is grown under shade trees, which provide habitat for birds and other wildlife.
  • Choose RSPO palm oil: RSPO-certified palm oil is produced in a way that is sustainable and does not harm forests or wildlife.

Other Ways to Help:

  • Get involved: Volunteer your time to a local environmental organization or participate in a community clean-up.
  • Educate others: Talk to your friends and family about the importance of protecting the environment.
  • Make your voice heard: Contact your elected officials and urge them to support policies that protect the environment.

Recycling Your Phone Helps Save Gorillas

The Zoo’s e-waste recycling program 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 Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

Join us in the fight to protect wildlife!  A collection box is available at the Zoo’s main entrance.

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