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A small pile of compost resting in a pair of hands

Yep, that used to be poo!

Who knew animal poo could be turned into landscaping magic? Using a new facility built with a donation from Waste Management, we’ve begun producing our very own compost!

How does it work? A mixture of herbivore excrement and plant debris is put in one of four 500-cubic-foot bins and monitored until it reaches the 130-degree temperature required for the composting process to begin. The mixture “cooks” for 30 days, then is hauled out by landscaping staff for use around the Zoo.

We’re already seeing dramatic changes. Many of our flowers are fuller and healthier than ever before, and we’re using less water in areas enriched by the compost. You can see the results in the new flower beds by Wickham Road and the grass in the Kangaroo Walkabout during your next Zoo visit.

Natural beauty is far from the only perk, however. Because organic material in the landfill is deprived of oxygen, it can take decades to break down and release significant amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas connected to climate change. Composting is an exponentially faster process that yields much smaller quantities of methane and gives us the added benefit of returning these nutrients to the soil.

“We’re thrilled to be a partner in this exciting new Zoo venture,” said Amy Boyson, community affairs manager at Waste Management. “Recycling is more than just what can be done at the curb. This facility will save valuable landfill space while creating a beneficial product for our environment.”

If you’re inspired by our composting efforts, we encourage you to try something similar at home! Place fruit and vegetable scraps, lawn clippings, tree trimmings and even newspaper in a container and lightly stir it once every few days. The mixture is ready for use once it begins to resemble soil. Use your compost as an alternative to fertilizer on your lawn and garden and share it with your neighbors!