Zero Waste Logo The Zero Wate Network the University of Texas at Arlington Center for Environmental Excellence Environmental Training Institute Logo  

Join Us on:

Social Network Nav Bar

Lean and P2 Workshops

Nov, 14-16, 2017,

Dec. 5-7, 2017




Environmental Management Systems Workshops

Lake Charles
Sep. 26-29, 2017

Dec. 12-15, 2017



Case Study Database

           Add Story    |    Search Case Studies    |   


The North Carolina Zoo

Year Submitted: 2007

Process: Cleaning

Industry: Zoo

Wastes Reduced: Animal waste

Location: Asheboro NC

Contact: Mary Joan Pugh

Phone: (910) 879-7300


The North Carolina Zoo comprises 500 acres of animal exhibits in natural surroundings on a 1,500-acre site. During FY 94-95, approximately 934,000 people visited the zoo. The zoos waste streams can be separated into visitor waste, animal waste, plant waste, and miscellaneous solid wastes. The materials generated from these areas are listed below:

  • Visitor waste: Food wrappers, drink cups, assorted paper, paper towels (144 yd3 per year)
  • Animal waste: Manure, straw, sand, food scraps (6,000 yd3 per year)
  • Plant waste: Clippings, brush, etc., (5,000 yd3 per year)
  • Miscellaneous solid waste: Office paper (6 tons/year), cardboard (30 tons/year), wood pallets (0.5 tons/year), metals (0.75 tons/year), and plastic (2.25 tons/year)
To address the waste streams, a conservation audit was conducted in 1990, and the initial waste reduction activities begun. The Conservation Captains group was established in 1994 to monitor the waste reduction activities.

P2 Application:

Compost: Animal and plant waste is composted on site and used on the zoo grounds. An expansion is planned for the current compost site to handle all animal and plant waste.
Energy: Zoo employees use bicycles for short trips instead of vehicles, some park rangers use bicycles instead of golf carts, thermostats in buildings are on timers to reduce energy use at night, and 40-watt bulbs are being replaced with 30-watt bulbs.
Paper: The zoo reduces paper use by making duplex copies, reusing file folders and envelopes, posting memos on bulletin boards, making scratch pads from waste office paper, and using only one paper towel for hand drying.
Pesticides: Biological controls are substituted for pesticides when possible. For example, green lacewings are used in the exhibit areas to prey on a whole variety of insect pests, and encarsia are used to prey on spiders, mites, and aphids. If a pest problem develops on larger plants, the plants are hand-washed with alcohol or soap to kill the pests.
Water: Water and wastewater meters are being installed to monitor water use and to identify leaks. The zoo uses non-potable water from lakes for irrigation. In addition, water at the Rocky Coast exhibit is filtered and reused.
Reuse: Boxes are placed at the zoo exit to collect brochures and maps for reuse.
Wood: Wood is chipped for mulch or chopped and given away as firewood.

  • Comments: The Zoo maintains a county drop-off site that collects approximately 1.9 tons/year of aluminum cans, 19.8 tons/year of newspapers, 14.1 tons/year of glass, and 3.4 tons/year of plastics. The site recently added mixed paper and other plastics. In addition to the drop-off site, the Zoo also maintains a trailer for the collection of mixed office paper (0.5 tons/year) and corrugated cardboard (20 tons/year). Used oil generated at the Zoo (600 gal/year) is recycled through state contract.

Details of Reductions

  • 293.0 - Tons of   Animal Waste
    Comments: 348 yd3/year (18 percent) of animal waste is composted.
    Every ton of waste composted saves $40 in landfill hauling and tipping fees and $40 in soil supplement purchases, and every pound of waste reduced saves 2 cents in landfill hauling and tipping fees.
  • 3,371.0 - Tons of   Plant waste
    Comments: 4,000 yd3/yr (80 percent) of plant waste is composted.
  • 1.9 - Tons of   aluminum cans
    Comments: 1.9 tons/year of aluminum cans
  • 19.8 - Tons of   Newspaper
    Comments: 19.8 tons/year of newspapers
  • 14.0 - Tons of   Glass
    Comments: 14.1 tons/year of glass
  • 3.0 - Tons of   Plastics
    Comments: 3.4 tons/year of plastics.

SHEP Shield
Health and

ERP Shield

ESP Shield

EMP Shield

Attend a workshop and
earn credits toward a
Professional Certification



The Zero Waste Network is one of eight Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange P2RxCenters , serving as a national network of regional information centers: NEWMOA (Northeast), WRRC (Southeast), GLRPPR (Great Lakes), ZeroWasteNet (Southwest), P2RIC (Plains), Peaks to Prairies (Mountain), WSPPN (Pacific Southwest), PPRC (Northwest). We are a proud member of the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable.

National P2 Roundtable Logo