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Philadelphia Zoo: How do Green Efforts Compare?
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Philadelphia Zoo: How do Green Efforts Compare?

Philadelphia Zoo TigersAnimal conservation is more and more important… and seeing exotic  creatures up close doesn’t always mean you have to leave city limits. (Appropriately, today is Global Tiger Day, to raise awareness for these beautiful animals.)  As the Philadelphia Zoo is a must-see on any Philadelphian’s list, their sustainability efforts are important too.

The Philadelphia Zoo has been around for over 150 years. Back in the day an admission fee of 25 cents would get you a pass to see 1000 animals. Since the 1800s, the zoo has prioritized education and wildlife conservation in its mission. Over 1.2 million visitors annually have green opportunities.

Philadelphia Zoo Sustainability Efforts

Philadelphia Zoo PeacockThe Philadelphia Zoo’s green initiatives fall into 5 categories:
  1. Energy
  2. Water
  3. Waste
  4. Transportation
  5. Green Practices

What green practices has the Philadelphia Zoo implemented?

  • Reduced energy use by temperature set-backs, lighting upgrades and replacing old refrigerators with Energy Star models.
  • Conserve water by installing ‘water saving’ devices on sinks and showers, waterless urinals and repairing underground water lines.
  • Recycling. Did you know you can donate your cell phone at the zoo entrance and help endangered primates with their Return the Call of the Wild program? Recycling over 4.5 tons per month, including ‘common’ items as well as cell phones, bottle caps, CDs, cork and more.
  • Install bike racks and encourage public transit and carpooling for staff members.
  • Implemented a CSA to support local farms with full-time staff members – 30 shares were distributed in 2012!

Greenest Zoos in the USA

How does the Philadelphia Zoo Measure up to other Green zoos? 

The Denver Zoo strives to be the greenest and are measuring up to expectations. With awards like Top Honors Green Award, Bicycle Friendly Business and Water Reuse “Customer of the Year Award”, their initiatives include achieving LEED Platinum certification, zero waste by 2025 initiatives and providing local produce for animals.

The Cincinnati Zoo is trying to give Denver a run for its money. With the largest public solar array in the US, various LEED certifications and greenest restaurant in America, the ‘greenest zoo in America” title could go to Cincinnati.

Compared to Denver and Cincinnati, the Philadelphia Zoo could expand green initiatives in many innovative ways. Implementing goals for reducing carbon emissions, expanding local food initiatives and more are great starts.

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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