Going Green

From water and energy conservation to waste reduction and pollution prevention, Riverbanks Zoo and Garden implements green practices every day. Here are just some of the things we’re doing…

Solar Power

  • Riverbanks recently installed a solar array, made possible by a PaCE (Palmetto Clean Energy) grant and matching funds from SCE&G, atop the new SCE&G Guest Relations Center. The solar panels help to generate electricity for the guest relations building and create awareness about alternative energy.

Energy Conservation

  • Reducing energy consumption by changing all incandescent bulbs to compact fluorescent fixtures (and exploring options for the safe, bulk recycling of them).
  • Increasing energy efficiency by changing HID lights in animal exhibits to T5 fixtures.
  • Switching to LED lights in our “Lights Before Christmas” displays.
  • Thanks to the diligence of Riverbanks staff, nearly 3,000 fluorescent light bulbs were properly recycled and kept out of landfills in 2012.
  • Reducing energy usage through the purchase of more than 2,200 Hanes Comfort Blend Ecosmart Shirts for Zoo Camp each year. The shirts are made from locally grown cotton and at least 5% polyester fibers from recycled plastic bottles, which when added to the cotton require less drying time.

Pollution Prevention

  • Conducting routine litter pickups along the Saluda River as part of the Adopt-A-Waterway program coordinated by Keep the Midlands Beautiful.

Sustainable Seafood Initiatives

  • Participating in Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program as Conservation Partners. This program makes it easy for consumers to get involved with making sustainable seafood choices.
  • Encouraging visitors to engage in Seafood Watch by downloading the app to help them make sustainable seafood choices when at stores and restaurants.
  • Striving to serve only “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative” seafood items at all events catered by Riverbanks Catering and all food served at Riverbanks Zoo.
  • Making every effort to buy locally and regionally for more than 50% of the food served at Riverbanks.

Waste Reduction and Recycling

  • Utilizing recycled materials for permanent structures—the children’s playground at Riverbanks is made from 19,343 aluminum cans, 8,973 soup cans and 5,624 plastic cartons.
  • Reducing the amount of organic waste sent to landfills by composting almost 275 tons—or 1,500 pounds daily—of animal waste and bedding each year.
  • Reusing materials such as cardboard and paper to create fun and interesting enrichment items for the animals.
  • Saving energy and keeping usable materials out of landfills by recycling cell phones and Zoo maps.
  • Conserving natural resources and landfill space by recycling plastics, aluminum and other metals, and office paper in all employee areas.
  • Utilizing eco-friendly plates and bowls in our education programs.
  • Enhancing our public, park-wide recycling program with strategically placed recycling bins.

Water Conservation

  • Installing low flow fixtures in public restrooms.
  • Reducing gallons of water with booster pumps that increase pressure for cleaning animal areas.
  • Utilizing flow meters to quantify the effects of booster pumps and determine where they are of maximum benefit.
  • Reducing water usage with drought tolerant planting materials and drip irrigation.
  • Implementing alternative watering methods in plant beds.