Our wildlife conservation efforts require the Zoo to operate in an ecologically sustainable system. To inspire others to act on behalf of wildlife and nature requires our business practices to support nature. Palm Beach Zoo strives to not use pesticides, harmful chemicals, or inorganic fertilizers, sell single-use plastics, or participate in unsustainability practices.
In 2019, the Zoo brought on a consultant to teach the principles of sustainability, looking at a cost-benefit analysis for every project. The Sustainability Group composed of staff from various departments including Commissary, Horticulture, Executive, Animal Care, Grounds, Marketing, and more worked toward a sustainability plan which included composting, growing food for the animals, reviewing energy consumption, reducing waste, increasing the number of water refill stations, smartphone recycling opportunities, and more.
In early 2021, Zoo leadership, recognizing that sustainability is as much a part of Palm Beach Zoo’s mission as doing fieldwork, took on a few sustainability objectives, some of which were completed and some of which are still ongoing.
Removal of all single-use plastics for sale at the Zoo’s food & beverage services. SSA, our food & beverage vendor, was a willing participant. In late 2021, water, sodas, and other drinks were no longer available in plastic bottles. Even vending machines around the Zoo were supplied with aluminum cans of water and other beverages. SSA helped to go even further down the path of sustainability by removing all straws from the Zoo and introducing plant-based compostable silverware for the vending carts around the Zoo.
Moving to a new more sustainable-focused retail vendor. In 2021, Event Network became our retail partner. Event Network’s business model more closely reflects that of Palm Beach Zoo in sustainability and conservation-oriented philosophies and actions. Unlike our previous retail provider, Event Network has a host of sustainable products and practices:
Shirts and caps made from ‘transitional cotton.’ Transitional cotton supports farmers who are transitioning from traditional to organic cotton.
Plushes made from recycled plastic bottles (Ecokins brand)
No single-use plastic products are sold
Every effort is made to use re-usable packaging, buy products that use recycled plastics and cardboard, avoid using plastic wraps around products, and package purchases in a reusable bag made from recycled plastic bottles.
A host of jewelry vendors are used. These vendors either plant a tree for each bracelet purchased, give back to women’s causes, or use snares to create jewelry.
Palm Beach Zoo is dedicated to planting native flora and removing invasive plants over time. One of the most amazing features the Zoo offers its guests (and staff) is the unbelievably rich, lush flora that covers the site. It will take years for us to remove and replace plants, but the endgame is worth it. Native species attract native animals and use water appropriate to Florida rainfall. The Zoo currently does not use any water for irrigation other than to start seedlings and assisting young plants.
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