Taronga Conservation Society Australia is leading the way by reducing waste at their zoos in Sydney and Dubbo. In line with helping restore wildlife habitats and protecting fragile species, Taronga Zoos are doing their bit to minimise waste and pollution in their parks. On site, they have a brilliant waste disposal system offering three bins that are clearly marked with what can go in them; a red bin for general waste; a green bin for compostable food packaging, and a yellow bin for recyclable beverage containers. By doing this, Taronga is able to divert 84% of their waste from landfill.
To further reduce waste inside the parks, the food outlets eliminated single-use plastics where they could and were able to swap them for reusable options or compostable packaging. For takeaway snacks, the zoos use 100% compostable food packaging made from cornstarch-based compostable material supplied by BioPak. Compostable foodservice packaging at the parks include straws, cutlery, coffee cups, and lids.
All of the park’s food waste is sent to an anaerobic digester to create electricity and produce fertile pellets which return precious nutrients back into the soil.
Across both zoos, a ginormous amount of waste (50 tonnes every month) is produced by the animals. At Taronga Zoo in Sydney, this waste along with the compostable packaging is collected and transported to a nearby composting facility. At the Dubbo Zoo, the waste is processed on-site and the compost created is used on the grounds of the Zoo, pretty neat!
On top of the food waste and food packaging collection, Taronga also collects all of their electronic waste and recycles it through a designated e-waste stream.
They also have container recycling with Return and Earn— a littering mitigation program. This reverse vending machine allows you to return your beverage containers and redeem a deposit.
In Taronga Zoo’s commitment to a sustainable future, they have heavily invested in renewable energy sources to power their sites. Taronga has a number of solar panels installed across their two sites in Sydney and Dubbo. By harnessing the power of the sun, they were able to significantly reduce their emissions, saving 110 metric tonnes of CO2 and 157,165kWh annually, which is equivalent to taking 23.3 cars off the road for a whole year.
To keep litter to a minimum and further protect the ground, Taronga Zoos have banned balloons, disposable bags and individual sauce sachets.
Next time you visit the zoos, make sure to stop by one of their cafes for a coffee, or some lunch or take some snacks to go to munch on while you take in the sights of the animals. Remember to look for the special green rubbish bins to compost your compostable takeaway packaging.
If you’re a zoo or another venue that wants to start composting, the first step is to make the switch to compostable packaging, then find out how you can start composting today through Compost Connect.
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