Denver Zoo Map

Zero Waste


At Denver Zoo, 90% of our waste—from trash to animal waste—will be converted into clean, sustainable energy through our biomass gasification system. It’s the first of its kind anywhere in the world and, along with our ongoing commitment to overall waste reduction will help us reach our goal of being zero waste by 2025. 

Here at Denver Zoo we are working towards becoming a zero waste facility by 2025! To achieve this difficult goal we have developed an extensive recycling program, a green purchasing policy and a waste to energy system. Denver Zoo monitors waste generated through our everyday operations to devise ways to reduce our waste stream and promote recycling efforts to both zoo staff and visitors.

Housed in our new Toyota Elephant Passage exhibit will be our state-of-the-art waste to energy system that will chemically convert zoo waste in a high temperature, low oxygen process into a usable combustible gas, called syngas. We will convert 90 percent of zoo's waste stream into energy, resulting in a diversion of diverting approximately 1.5 million pounds annually from the landfill, saving the zoo as much as $150,000 a year in energy and waste hauling costs. This system will meet the most stringent emissions standards and will produce one bi-product: ash, which can be used as a soil amendment. The electricity created by the system will be used to operate motors and pumps needed in the new exhibit, as well as other zoo energy needs (estimated at 20 percent). 


Learn more about Denver Zoo’s sustainability efforts on a two-hour guided tour featuring some of the zoo’s most significant contributions to making the world a better place.  Learn More.

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