The Sacramento Zoo prides itself in being a local leader in wildlife and environmental conservation, inspiring visitors to take actions to help animals and nature. Made up of a small group of dedicated staff, the zoo’s Green Team implements green practices within the zoo and encourages staff to make a yearlong green pledge of personal eco-friendly changes.
Recently, thanks to Jaime Wilson who heads the Green Team, the zoo began partnering with ReSoil Sacramento, a pedal-powered community network that collects fruit and vegetable scraps to make rich compost for local farms, schools and urban gardens. Typically ReSoil collects produce scraps from local restaurants and the Midtown Farmers Market but the Sacramento Zoo is now a pick up site!
“The zoo has wanted to be active in composting; however, there are many onsite challenges such as space and pests,” Wilson said. “ReSoil was the perfect solution.”
Run by the Green Sacramento Restaurant Alliance (GRAS), ReSoil started hauling compost from the zoo’s animal care kitchen, or commissary, in late September. With more than 500 mouths to feed, the zoo feeds out a large quantity of fruits and vegetables; however, not all of the parts (stems, pits, etc.) are safe for the animals. Those scraps are now saved in a large waste bin for ReSoil to pick up. Staff are also invited to bring their kitchen compost in from home.
“The keepers who operate in the commissary compost the most but other departments have quickly and creatively figured out ways to include their compostable waste,” shared Wilson. “It’s been very easy to get staff on board.”
With twice a week pick up, the Sacramento Zoo is averaging about 100 pounds of compost per week. On a regular day, the contents of the compost bin include banana peels, orange peels, the bottom part of lettuce, carrot ends, grape stems, any produce that is past its prime and coffee grounds from the offices.
After the zoo’s Boo at the Zoo Halloween event, more than 50 pumpkins that couldn’t be fed to the animals were also given to ReSoil for a “pumpkin smash” at the City of Sacramento’s free backyard composting seminar.
The zoo is thrilled to partner with ReSoil and grateful to GRAS for collaborating with the Sacramento Zoo. The Zoo staff and Wilson are enjoying working with ReSoil.
“They are so dedicated, enthusiastic and upbeat that it’s infectious,” said Wilson.
You can also help reduce the amount of compostable materials from landfills. Learn how to compost at home with the Regional Recycling Backyard Composting Guide, available at wmr.saccounty.net. To learn more about ReSoil or make a donation to GRAS, visit grasacramento.org.
If you would like to usefully dispose of your home tree trimmings, the Sacramento Zoo accepts donations of pre-approved browse, non-toxic branches and shrubs that the zoo animals can enjoy. Visit saczoo.org to learn more.