We have all faced the same dilemma when looking at the trash and recycle cans in our homes: Where does each piece of material go when I am done with it? Is this recyclable or is it trash? WHERE DOES IT GO?!? In honor of America Recycles Day, observed on November 15, we thought we would take a second to talk about recycling. Specifically, why is it so important, how does the zoo do it and what can we do at home?
So, why is recycling so important? It’s important for two major reasons. One is that it allows us to keep items and materials out of the landfill. The other reason is that recycling gives us a way to reduce our consumption of new raw materials when we are making products for everyday use. We can reuse materials like aluminum and wood instead of harvesting new resources from ever diminishing supplies. By recycling plastic, we can slow down the creation of new plastics as well. Your Akron Zoo aspires to be zero waste; that means our goal is for the zoo to either recycle, reuse or compost all of the waste material we create. In order to work towards this aspiration, the zoo uses many methods to dispose of our waste streams. Our biological waste, including yard waste, straw, animal waste and food waste, is composted either onsite using our Big Hanna biodigester or through offsite companies.
At the Akron Zoo, we are also committed to recycling any materials we can. Currently, we are able to recycle plastic, electronics, batteries, light bulbs, paper, metals, oils, pallets and aluminum. Some of these materials are recycled through waste management, while others are recycled through special programs, such as Cans for Corridors. Cans for Corridors is an amazing program where people and organizations recycle aluminum cans (soda, pet food, etc.) and use the proceeds to plant trees in the rainforests of South America. Since the zoo started participating in the program in 2015, we have planted over 11,000 trees in South America, and we can’t wait to continue supporting this program with your cans! If you would like to get involved in this program, you can bring your cleaned, sorted and bagged cans to the zoo’s designated drop-off zone in parking lot C.
You can also contribute to conservation by being mindful of recycling at home. If you want to step up your recycling game, the first thing you can do is check your local recycling guidelines. Each city typically has their own rules, so you’ll want to make sure to follow the instructions for your municipality. Most waste management facilities accept cardboard, paper, metals, some plastics and potentially glass. Be sure to clean out any containers before putting them into recycling. Some local grocery stores may also accept plastic bags, films and even bubble wrap for recycling if you drop them off in designated bins. Amazon will even accept small electronics for recycling!
Thanks for helping your Akron Zoo to meet our conservation goals! Be sure to do your part to help America recycle, both on November 15 and every day!
By Carrie Bassett, Education Mission Manager. Published Nov. 15, 2022.