Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been certified carbon neutral, six years ahead of schedule.
As a carbon neutral organisation, the zoo had to show it was committed to reducing its carbon emissions on an ongoing basis, as well as offsetting the current emissions by investing in carbon-reduction projects.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo director Steve Hinks said one of the major changes the zoo had undertaken was installing 200 kilowatts of solar panels which were generating more than 20 per cent of the facility’s annual electricity usage.
Mr Hinks said the zoo had also partnered with sustainability company Green Feet to plant 8500 trees across Australia. As well as offsetting carbon, the trees provide habitat for endangered species like koalas and the regent honeyeater.
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Across the last 18 months the Dubbo zoo has also reduced its single use plastic.
“You will not see a plastic straw on site here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo,” Mr Hinks said.
“All of our cups, all of our food packages are biodegradable and fully compostable, so there’s been huge stride made in reducing those single use plastics and we will continue to do that in the future.”
The zoo also diverts 75 per cent of its waste from landfill, with plans to increase it to 90 per cent by 2020.
As part of being certified under the National Carbon Offset Standard, Taronga Western Plains Zoo has to show it is continually improving and reducing its carbon footprint year on year.
Now the zoo has put in the work, Mr Hinks has encouraged more businesses to reduce their carbon footprint.
“I have a dream to see Dubbo as a city become fully sustainable and I think anything we can so to inspire change to other organisations throughout Dubbo is something that I would be extremely proud of. We intend to lead the way to see that happen,” Mr Hinks said.