Meet the Calgary Zoo's Green Team


As a conservation organization, we are a responsible steward of the environment and a non-profit charity aspiring to take a leading role in green practices to further the zoo’s mission and vision. All staff members are part of the Green Team and are encouraged to take actions to be more sustainable each and every day.

To coordinate the efforts for Green Team, we created a Green Team Council which launched in 2015 with the mandate to celebrate the current green and sustainable practices, champion new initiatives and move the zoo in a positive direction for sustainable operations.

In 2016, we worked hard to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Our long-term goal is to increase recycling and compost rates, which translates into measurable benefits including waste reduction, energy savings and natural resource conservation. In one year since launching the three-stream bins, the zoo is pleased to report that it has reduced its waste by 50%. That's the weight of 87 giraffes!

You’ll be hearing more from the Calgary Zoo’s Green Team on social media, our website and from our staff members as we focus on building an engaging conservation and sustainable culture internally, and continue to educate our zoo community on our existing green initiatives!


Three-Stream Bins

Introducing composting & recycling for all visitors

Launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2016, guests are encouraged to compost and recycle while visiting the zoo. These bins are installed throughout the grounds, complete with new signage to point what items go where. Have a question about our new three-stream bins? Check out our handy guide What Goes Where (PDF – 591K) and read our latest news release on our one-year anniversary since launching the bins.

Current Green Practices

Sustainability & Purchasing

  • All the seafood used at the zoo is 100% Ocean Wise, meaning it is harvested in ways that limit damage to marine or aquatic habitats and negative interactions with other species.
  • Purchase, grow or use locally-sourced produce where possible at Grazers and concessions locations.


  • Home to two LEED Gold Certified Buildings - an internationally recognized benchmark for green buildings for design, construction and operation. ENMAX Conservatory was LEED certified in 2013 and Penguin Plunge in 2015.

Energy Management

  • Motion sensors in meeting rooms to auto-turn off lights when not in use.
  • LED lights used at major events including ZOOLIGHTS and ILLUMINASIA.
  • LED lighting is used along Discovery Trail.

Water Management

  • Install water efficient low-flow toilets and optimize faucet run times in bathrooms.

Chemical Management

  • Optimize green garden practices and limit use of chemicals and pesticides in gardens and use eco-friendly cleaning products, where possible.

Programs & Awareness

  • Encourage biking to the zoo by offering new bike rack stations at the North and West Gate entrance and we participate annually in Calgary’s Bike to Work Day.
  • We Have the Power – A school program offered to Grade 5 students to teach them about conservation after experimenting with solar and wind technology.

Engagement & Innovations

  • All garbage bins and back boards, along with many of our park benches are made from 97% HDPE recycled plastics, which visitors can see labeled by the number of milk jugs used in the production of these pieces.
  • Certified as the first Bee City Business in Alberta, and the first zoo ever with this designation. The Bee City Business program recognizes socially responsible businesses, non-profit groups and other organizations that are taking action to protect pollinators by creating healthy habitats where pollinators can thrive.

Waste Management & Recycling

At the Calgary Zoo, we participate in green initiatives locally and abroad. Here are some of the things we do to keep our planet green:

  • WasteWaste

    We've placed new three-stream garbage bins around the zoo grounds and in major food service areas to make recycling and composting easier for zoo lovers. Less waste!

  • CardboardCardboard

    At the Wildlife Conservation Centre, we reuse recycled signage to create visual barriers between animal habitats. We also recycle all the boxes and packaging that gets sent our way.

  • Paper & InkPaper & Ink

    Each year during our summer programs, at least one craft per week is made from recycled materials from the zoo — most of which are used for animal enrichment.

  • UpcyclingUpcycling

    The zoo purchases clothing and props for theatre productions from second-hand thrift stores.

  • EnergyEnergy

    Our gift shop runs on penguin power! Well, not exactly. The waste energy generated from the Penguin Plunge support system heats the nearby gift shop.

  • ElectronicsElectronics

    We participate in a cell phone-recycling program that helps protect gorillas and their natural habitat.

  • TreesTrees

    We often repurpose fallen trees, tree branches and bulbs for animal enrichment.

  • Compostable ItemsCompostable Items

    We've adopted composting initiatives across the zoo. With available dumpsters for food leftovers and biodegradable packaging and containers available at food service areas, we're committed to staying green — we even compost animal poo!

    All food containers housed in our food services areas are compostable including napkins, plates and take-out containers.