The Zoo staff is comprised of people who are environmentally-minded, who are committed to conservation and who want to inspire others to sustainably share the world. Still, staff recognized there was a need to reduce, reuse and recycle even more. In 2003, The Green Team was formed with a mission to reduce waste, conserve energy and create positive change for the Zoo and within our community.
“Even though there were a number of conservation-minded staffers, sometimes the costs of ‘going green’ were not part of the existing budget,” shares Jaime Wilson, Sacramento Zoo’s web development and fundraising coordinator as well as chair of the Green Team. “We first took on the simple, free tasks such as turning off lights and computers at night and promoting recycling to the employees. Then we started the Recycle Rummage Sale to create a revenue stream. Now, if employees have a need such as more recycling bins, rechargeable batteries or properly disposing of hazardous waste, the Green Team covers the costs.”
The annual Recycle Rummage Sale not only provides funding to help the Zoo, but it also promotes reusing and repurposing items. Gently used contributions are received from Zoo staff, Docents and Zoo members. “It not only keeps these items out of the landfill, but it gives them new life being reused by someone who wants it,” stated Wilson.
In addition, The Green Team purchases carbon offsets for at least 70,000 pounds of carbon emissions due to staff travels. The group also maintains a small DVD lending library on green practices and environmental issues that staff can borrow. And to be more eco-friendly, The Green Team “up-cycles” the Zoo’s promotional vinyl banners – turning them into alternative materials such as folders, shopping bags and wallets.
In 2013 Green Team Recycled:
720 cubic feet of Styrofoam
699 feet of fluorescent tubes
286 pounds of batteries
260 cubic yards mixed recycling (cardboard, glass, paper, tin, aluminum, plastic)
3 car loads of e-waste
This year’s Recycle Rummage Sale will coincide with the Zoo’s Earth Fest celebrations on Saturday, April 5 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Included with Zoo admission, you can peruse books, collectibles, artwork, jewelry, housewares and other unique items with proceeds benefiting the Green Team. You can also meet Gus, the Green Tree Frog and official mascot of the Green Team as well as enjoy a variety of conservation-themed activities that will take place throughout the day.