The Green Initiative

In January, 2017 Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo will begin its newest conservation program: The Green Initiative. This 5-year plan aims to to reduce the zoo’s negative environmental impact. Through a focus on conservation efforts, new policies and practices that will improve our ecological footprint, we are striving to become an environmentally sustainable zoo and green leader in Comal County. This strategic plan sets forth both short and long terms goals to ensure a small carbon footprint and a more efficient and productive environment.  Our goals are related to the following:

  1. Waste Management
  2. Water Conservation
  3. Green Materials & Products
  4. Environmental Education

 

What Are Our Plans?

Waste Management

Goals: To divert the maximum amount of waste from landfills through source reduction, reuse and recycling.

Strategic Plan: 

  • Replace paper towel dispensers in staff areas with controlled consumption dispensers or hand dryers
  • Implement and install sufficient recycling containers and reciprocals
  • Continually encourage recycling; inform staff how to recycle and what to recycle
  • Recycle materials with the City of New Braunfels’ City Recycling Center. Plastic items will be sent out to other appropriate sources, such as the local Walmart (who accepts plastic bags)

Water Conservation

 

Goals: To decrease water usage by increasing conservation and efficiency measures (changes below must be sensitive to water requirements in animal areas).

Strategic Plan:

  • Water efficient exhibits: Convert all remaining dump-and-fill bowls to filtered/recirculation systems
  • Water efficient bathrooms: Install water efficient toilets and install low flow faucet aerators
  • Water efficient landscaping: Collect rainwater from building roods for landscaping, never leave sprinklers on overnight
  • Employee action: Encourage water-saving techniques in all areas, empower staff

Green Materials & Products

Goals:  To increase the percentage and variety of environmentally responsible products and materials purchased by and used at Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo. “Environmentally Responsible” is defined as produced, manufactured, or grown in a manner that is socially and environmentally sustainable. We plan to follow the following environmental credentials: locally produced; contains high percentage of recycled materials; made from rapidly renewable resources; contains minimal packaging; non-toxic and biodegradable. Whenever possible, environmental credentials should be third party certified (primarily through the Forest Stewardship Council).

Strategic Plan:
Incrementally increase and initiate the purchase of the following materials:

  •  All paper and paper-based products (including paper towel, napkins and toilet tissue) should have the highest possible post consumer recycled content, chlorine-free bleaching process and FSC-certified
  • Cleaning supplies should have the lowest volatile organic compound (VOC) content possible and should be non-toxic
  • Lightbulbs should be energy efficient brands (such as halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps or light emitting diodes (LEDs)
  • Paints, caulk and adhesives should have the lowest volatile organic compound (VOC) content possible
  • Plastic-based products (computer disks, trash liners, etc.) should have the highest possible post consumer recycled content
  • Retain bags should be composed of bioplastic or recycled materials
  • Office supplies should be made from recycled material, inks should be made with a low volatile organic compound (VOC) content and all printers should be set to print double-sided

Environmental Education

Goals: Amplify environmental education efforts in both frequency and variety. Focus communication efforts on staff, volunteers and visitors.

Strategic Plan:

  • Conservation programs: Increase the number and variety of environmental education program and integrate more environmental themes into existing programs
  • Signage and literature: Increase the number and variety of environmental sustainability-minded signage and literature throughout the Zoo to highlight our Green Initiative and conservation efforts
  • Community outreach: Identify and support local environmental efforts and events

 

What Can You Do To Help?