In celebration of Global Recycling Day which takes place annually on March 18th, we are encouraging our fans to go wild for recycling and taking steps to consume less to waste less. Below are some helpful tips for recycling. Remember, our choices matter today and every day.
Recycling is the process of turning used materials into new products. Recycling is important because it reduces the amount of waste that is landfilled, reduces the amount of energy used to make new products, and reduces the pollution associated with both disposal and manufacturing. The Oklahoma City Zoo currently recycles cardboard, paper, aluminum and other metals, and plastics that have a labeled resin code. We also compost our herbivore waste into OKC ZOO POO, turning a waste product into a valuable resource that helps plants thrive, reduces pollution, and restores soils. The OKC Zoo helps guests recycle by placing recycling bins near all of our trash bins, guests can look for bins with the top for trash, and bins without the top for recycling. I remember this by thinking “top equals trash”.
The most important thing people can do before thinking about recycling is to consume less and waste less. There are many ways to do this, but a top tip is to think about purchases. Choose reusable products over disposable ones and choose minimal packaging when possible. Clothing and fashion are a huge source of waste globally, and choosing secondhand clothing or just simply making do with what you currently have is a great way to reduce waste. Repair items, when possible, instead of purchasing new, especially electronics which are a source of toxic waste. About one-third of food produced is wasted, which is a burden to our environment. My favorite way to prevent food waste is by putting my produce in the most visible space in my refrigerator and using the SuperCook app to do the heavy lifting of figuring out how to use items that will expire. If you have food waste, composting is the easiest and one of the best ways to prevent it from going to a landfill.
Once you’ve consumed less to waste less, it’s essential to know how to recycle right. Check your local recycling guidelines to understand what is accepted and rejected, but there are some general rules that all people can follow for recycling including:
Make sure your containers are clean and rinse containers to remove food or liquid residue.
Do not recycle greasy items.
Plastic is a common contaminant in recycling centers, so recycle labeled plastics and leave plastic bags out of your recycling bin.
Below are helpful resources to help you celebrate Global Recycling Day every day.
How2Recycle can help you find your local recycling guidelines.
OCASA can help you learn how to compost.
SuperCook can help you reduce food waste.
Litterati can track litter data to help create accountability and action.
Calling all Oklahoma students, K-12, the OKC Zoo invites you to get creative for conservation and a chance to win wild prizes, enter the Pepsi Vending Machine Art Contest. Now through April 22, students can enter their original designs inspired by the contest theme, “Make Oklahoma Litter Free for Wildlife”. Students are encouraged to share their ideas about how to keep Oklahoma clean and green! Illustrations must be submitted on an official contest entry form found here. Learn more at www.okczoo.org/pepsicontest
And, save the date, for the Oklahoma City Zoo’s inaugural community Fix-It and Flower Festival happening on Sunday, May 7, from 1 pm to 5 p.m. Enjoy family-friendly activities, get the “dirt” on planting for pollinators, bring select broken items to be repaired for free and more. Stay tuned to the Zoo’s social channels to learn more! Do you have fix-it skills? Interested in helping your community and reducing waste? Then, we need YOU for our Fix-It Festival! We are looking for volunteers who can sew, repair jewelry, tune up bikes, sharpen knives, repair small appliances or fix small electronics. For more information contact, Kelly at email@example.com.
--Kelly D., the Oklahoma City Zoo’s sustainability coordinator