Our Sustainability Efforts

Toledo Zoo is committed to modeling our mission for our community and all of our guests.

Select a sustainable practice below to learn more

Energy Management
Palm Oil Products
Recycling for Enrichment
More Sustainability & Recycling

Energy Management

Below are a list of energy saving installations that have been incorporated on grounds.


Installation of a 1.8 kw wind turbine at the main parking lot entrance to generate power for the parking lot booths

Solar Panels

Construction of large solar array and solar walkway that produces more than 2.6 MWh per year or approximately 30% of the Zoo’s total electrical energy consumption.

Green Roof

Installation of a green growing roof atop Nature’s Neighborhood’s goat barn to reduce storm water runoff, cool the building and reduce heat island effect.


Energy savings and feasibility study for the Zoo campus including electrical, HVAC, chiller operations, lighting and more.

Sustainable Palm Oil Products

The Problem

Over 50% of all grocery story items contain palm oil harvested from rainforests in Borneo and Sumatra, home to the world’s only wild orangutan populations.

In recent years the increased demand for palm oil has led to the clear cutting and burning of rainforests sending large amounts of greenhouse gas CO2 into the atmosphere, while also quickly destroying orangutan’s habitat. In fact within 10 years, orangutans could be extinct in the wild.

The Toledo Zoo’s Efforts

Your Zoo is working to ensure that the candies and snacks given out at Pumpkin Path and Little Boo are made with only sustainably produced palm oil. If you do not see some of your favorite candies, it is because after a great deal of research, we believe they are not orangutan friendly.

Recycling, Reducing, Re-Zooing

Toledo Zoo’s Animals Love Recycled Items

Many recyclable items can be used to keep our animals entertained and encourage their natural behaviors, such as hunting and playing.

We utilize old fire hoses to create hammocks for our apes, shredded office paper as bedding for our primates and cardboard boxes for scent enrichment for our big cats.

We also accept donations from the public to help keep our operating costs down, grounds clean and animals enriched.

If you’re looking to help, check out our wishlist.

Recycling Wish List

More Sustainability & Recycling

We Reduce One-Time Use Items By:

  • Using environmentally-friendly cups and plates in concessions areas, including cups made from a corn product that degrades in landfills
  • Encouraging people to buy souvenir cups by offering a discount on refills
  • Offering napkins made from recycled materials
  • Eliminating the use of straws and lids
  • Providing recycling receptacles throughout the park

Our additional efforts:

  • Installing fluorescent light bulbs that use less energy than incandescent
  • Upgrading Christmas lights with LED bulbs that use 90% less energy
  • Selling shade-grown coffee in Timberline Bakery
  • Offering reusable shopping bags in our gift shops to reduce plastic bag waste
  • Purchasing sustainable seafood for catered events
  • Using recycled materials in construction projects