On-Site Composting

Our Zoo Doo Does the Work!

What do we do with our heaps of herbivore poop? We create soil! Our on-site composting program diverts 375,000 yards of organic waste from landfills and creates over 188 tons of compost each year. Each day, our dedicated staff collects manure from many of our plant-eating animals (giraffes, elephants, zebras, etc.), soiled hay and straw from animal bedding, and scraps of uneaten produce from our commissary kitchen. All of this is transported to our dedicated compost area at the zoo. This collection of organic waste is placed in a hay grinder that breaks the contents into smaller bits to compost even faster. The resulting humus is distributed into piles and monitored over the next 3 months. The temperature and moisture levels are tracked, and the piles are routinely turned to optimize the rate at which this compost turns into soil. 

After 90 days, the organic waste is turned into the ground at Oakland Zoo and kept out of landfills! We use this soil for enrichment in animal habitats, to help our gardens of native plants grow strong, and to carbon farm throughout the zoo.