Zoo Miami Green Team

Zoo Miami is expanding its green efforts, including a recently created Green Team that is charged with changing the practices at the facility to create the “greenest” Zoo possible. Because the facility is dedicated to education and conservation, this is an important initiative for us. We would like to educate all of the more than 800,000 annual guests that come to the Zoo about our green efforts. Below are some of our efforts. 

 

Recycling

Our facility currently recycles paper
products, plastic bottles, cardboard,
batteries, computers, scrap metal,
syringe cases, used x-ray film,
printer/toner cartridges, zoo maps,
and light bulbs.
 
 
 
 
 
We also recycle cell phones and aluminum cans through programs to raise money for conservation.
 
To date, the zoo has recycled more than 5,500 cell phones and raised more than $5,000 for conservation through cell phone and accessory recycling.
 
From 2010 to date, we have recycled over 30,000 pounds of cardboard and plastic items and an additional 10,000 pounds in recycled paper. Not only is this material being recycled for reuse, but this is less waste going into our landfills.
 

Composting

All organic debris (tree/shrub/palm pruning, trimming) generated from grounds maintenance activities, and not used for animal browse, is processed on site for mulch or is composted. This amounts to approximately 3,000 cubic yards/year which does not enter our area landfills. This saves the Zoo and county taxpayers a minimum of $15,000 in related disposal costs.

Animal manure and bedding materials amounting to 662 tons/year are used in the Zoo’s composting operation saving the Zoo and county taxpayers $114,000 in disposal costs. The composted material is then used in horticultural operations on Zoo grounds.

Lighting

We recently changed all the lighting at our large carousel to LED lighting.  Our carousel now uses approximately the same kWh as a hair dryer!

We are also running trials on LED lighting in various other areas throughout the Zoo, such as the administration building, maintenance building, and animal exhibits.

Energy Usage

We have conducted an energy audit with Florida Power and Light (FPL) of the entire Zoo.  The information obtained from this energy audit will be used to design an energy saving strategy throughout the Zoo.  These efforts will include reduced and lower wattage light usage, changing to programmable thermostats, efficient computer energy usage, “green” switches, motion switches, and many additional changes through the program.
 
We have also installed a solar array in the Amazon and Beyond section of the zoo that will tie into the grid and offset a portion of the energy usage of the Zoo.

Environmentally Friendly Materials

Our concession vendor, SSA, only uses compostable materials at all concession stands.  This includes cups, plates, forks, spoons, knives, and other food serving materials.  There are numerous graphics in the area describing these materials.  We are also creating a display for guests to watch the compostable items follow the entire composting process and there will be graphics describing this.

We changed all paper products in our warehouse, for both public use and employee use, to recycled paper items.  These items are not only better for the environment, but we are saving approximately $10,000/year by using these items.
Detergents and soaps used in public and staff facilities have been changed over to environmentally friendly low phosphorus products.