Zoo Atlanta Going Green

Join Zoo Atlanta’s quest to BE GREEN!

As a conservation organization, Zoo Atlanta recognizes our special obligation to always merge our operations with our mission. Environmental stewardship is the responsibility of all Zoo Atlanta employees.

We do this by:

  • Using our Green Team, made up entirely of Zoo employees, and leading by example to educate staff, Members and guests on ways be green and better our environments.
  • Our commitment that all new construction will be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified.
  • Pollution prevention through our Georgia Commute Options program.
  • Waste reduction through 12 different recycling programs.
  • Grants to Green implementation of water and energy reduction.

Green Team: Zoo Atlanta staff members meet monthly to monitor the Zoo’s environmental efforts and maintain a sustainable workplace. We work with numerous partners to help us accomplish these goals: the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Georgia Community Options, Georgia Department of Natural Resources- Sustainability Division and Southface Energy Institute.

LEED Certification: Scaly Slimy Spectacular: The Amphibian and Reptile Experience, opened in 2015, was the world’s first reptile and amphibian exhibit to earn LEED Gold certification. Green initiatives incorporated into this building and its construction process included:

  • Rainwater collection, water-efficient landscaping and low-flow plumbing for water use reduction
  • Planting of native plants to prevent erosion and promote local wildlife
  • Roof and lighting choices for lower energy consumption
  • Waste reduction of construction materials

Did you know that construction and demolition wastes make up 40% of the total solid waste in the U.S.? During construction of Scaly Slimy Spectacular, 98% of the total construction waste generated was recycled. The total weight diverted from landfills and recycled equals that of 17 adult male elephants!

Grants to Green program: Zoo Atlanta was awarded a Grants to Green Campus Assessment in 2015 that led to implementation of several resource-saving and waste reduction programs. 

Recycling program

Guests can help by recycling their Zoo maps, plastic bottles and aluminum cans during their visit. Zoo Atlanta also recycles glass, batteries, cardboard, Styrofoam, used uniforms, cell phones, and wood waste, and we even compost animal waste.  

While you’re at the Zoo, pick up a box of Pachy Poo™ premium soil enhancement at the gift shop! Pachy Poo by Natural Growth, Inc. is 100% natural compost made from manure produced by Zoo Atlanta’s own African elephants. The Zoo composts more than 10,000 pounds of elephant waste a week, and the result is an odorless organic product that can be mixed with existing soil or added as nutrient-rich topsoil. 


The Zoo Atlanta Green Team’s elephant manure and bamboo composting program won 1st place in the 2008 Keep Georgia Beautiful Awards for Waste Reduction and Recycling. By working with Natural Growth, Inc. for composting elephant manure, and Downey Trees for shredding bamboo waste to be burned as fuel by Georgia Power, we’re diverting over 1,800 cubic yards of waste from the landfill every year.

Zoo Atlanta was awarded a Grants to Green Campus Assessment Award provided through a partnership between The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Southface Energy Institute and the Kendeda Fund. This award includes a campus-wide assessment of the Zoo’s buildings, site and operations to identify and implement energy, water and resource-efficiency upgrades and adopt best management practices for sustainability.

Zoo Atlanta was an Atlanta Better Business Challenge (ABBC) 2015 top performer for reducing our water consumption by 20% in 2015.