Zoos Victoria strives towards zero waste to landfill by ensuring all recyclable materials are separated and reused, recycled, composted or converted to energy. Our operations, our animals and our visitors all contribute to our daily waste, some more than others – our keepers collect over 800 kilograms of Elephant dung every day!
We work to reduce, re-use and recycle in as many ways as we can, from worm farming to in-vessel composting (which effectively acts like a giant earthworm). We even make park benches from recycled plastics, collected from our Zoo’s operations.
Public place recycling
On-site at Melbourne Zoo we have a three bin system: waste, green waste recycling and comingled recycling. Green waste is composted on site using our in-vessel composter. At Healesville and Werribee Open Range Zoo we currently have a 2 bin system: waste and comingled recycling. Our aim is to provide the 3 bin system across our three zoos.
In-vessel composting of organic waste
At Melbourne Zoo, animal waste is collected and composted together with our visitor and horticulture waste. This material is composted on-site through an in-vessel composter called Hot Rot. It’s then commercially blended to create Zoo Gro that is suitable for use as soil conditioners and organic fertilisers. Melbourne Zoo's composting system was a finalist in the 2012 Melbourne Awards for best practice in sustainability.
At Healesville Sanctuary, animal waste is processed on-site by a worm farm. The worm farm is capable of processing 400 kilograms of organic waste per week, from our animal husbandry and catering. All composted material is returned to the site as soil conditioners and fertilisers.
Many of our new exhibits are made up of materials that are reclaimed and recycled from previous structures. For example, Melbourne Zoo’s Wild Seas Exhibit shows how reclaimed materials give a rustic feel to the entrance.