We're Green


We talk about preserving, conserving, and enhancing the natural world and its living treasures, but what are we, as an organization, doing about it on a daily basis? You may have already read about our participation in conservation projects such as the California Condor Recovery Program, but would you like to know what we do here at the Zoo to 'think green'? 

We help our guests:

  • By providing recycling containers thought the Zoo for glass, plastic, aluminum and paper.
  • By providing recycling collection boxes for old cell phones at the front gate.
  • By serving sustainable seafood at The Wave restaurant. We support the Seafood Watch program.


We help behind the scenes:

  • By using solar panels to generate electricity.
  • By using reclaimed water to nurture our plants.
  • By recycling batteries and electronics.
  • By recycling plastic, glass, and aluminum in all work areas.
  • By recycling paper and cardboard in all areas.
  • By forming and sustaining an internal "Green Team."
  • By using natural, sustainable materials for our flatware and portion cups, as well as napkins made of unbleached fibers, at our restaurant.*

*At the Ridley-Tree House Restaurant here at the Santa Barbara Zoo, we’re using portion cups made from corn, and flatware made from potatoes. Both corn and potatoes are natural, sustainable, efficient, renewable, compostable resources, and the quality of these items is just as good as their plastic counterparts.

Did you know the global consumption of plastics is about 140 million metric tons each year? The majority of these plastics end up in landfills, where they take anywhere from 100-400 years to break down. How much healthier for our environment are these restaurant items? Guess how long it takes our portion cups to decompose. 47 days! And all that’s required for decomposition is a moist environment with a high temperature, which is typically existent in municipal compost systems.

We feel good about our healthy decision, as it is not only better for the environment, but also keeps revenues local, helping the rural economy and decreasing dependence on imported oil. We’ll be adding more items like these in the restaurant, so keep checking in!

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