A greener future

A greener future

#Sustainability, #Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Posted on 01st August 2018 by Media Relations

Taronga Conservation Society Australia is committed to the conservation of wildlife through environmental sustainability. Some of our key achievements in sustainable waste and litter management at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo include:

  • Food waste
  • E-Waste
  • General litter
  • Plastic bottles
  • Plastic takeaway packaging
  • Plastic straws
  • Coffee cups
  • Balloons
  • Plastic bags
  • Sauce sachets

General Taronga waste management facts and figures

Did you know? Taronga Conservation Society Australia diverts 84% of its waste from landfill , and we are on track for our target rate of 90% by 2020!

Taronga Conservation Society Australia achieves this by maintaining 20 separate waste streams to divert waste from landfill and recycle materials at the source which ensures the value of materials are retained.


Food waste

Food going to landfill is wasteful, since it requires a significant amount of water, energy, land and fertilizer to grow, process and transport, and once in landfill it also creates methane gas, which contributes to climate change.This is why Taronga Conservation Society Australia has a separate stream for food waste from our on-site operations.

On average, we divert five tonnes of food waste from landfill by sending it to an anaerobic digester to create electricity and produce fertile pellets which return precious nutrients back into soil.

What you can do:
Individual Australians can minimize food waste through smart shopping and planning meals. If you do have some food scraps and leftovers, start composting and produce natural fertilizer. Join the Compost Revolution by getting a compost, worm farm or a Bokashi (a Japanese compost) at compostrevolution.com.au.



All electronics at Taronga Conservation Society Australia are recycled through a designated e-waste stream.

We also empower Australians to recycle their electronic devices through our They’re Calling On You program to divert e-waste from landfill and help protect Gorilla habitat in Africa. Through this campaign phones, chargers, digital cameras and tablets are re-used and recycled, and all funds raised go to our partners at the Jane Goodall Institute Australia for primate conservation. More than 50,000 mobile phones alone have been re-used and recycled through the program, which is the equivalent of 1,200 fewer tonnes of coltan metal ore mined out of the ground!

What you can do:
Are you ready to answer the call of Grauer’s Gorillas? Work together with your family and friends to gather 10 mobile phones You no longer use and book your free pick up service at www.phonecycle.com.au/copy-of-tcoy-collection-vic.


General litter

Taronga Conservation Society Australia is a supporter of the New South Wales’ Return and Earn container deposit program. Introduced in December 2017, this is the state’s largest litter mitigation program. Taronga Zoo Sydney was one of the first sites for installation of the reverse vending Tomra kiosk for local communities to use, return their beverage containers and redeem their deposit. We have also installed four smaller donation reverse vending machines across Taronga Zoo Sydney.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia staff and volunteers facilitate weekly beach and bush cleanups to collect litter, and we encourage our partner organizations, schools and other businesses to participate. Additionally, Taronga Conservation Society Australia’s Litter Free Oceans program helps Australians recognize the positive impact they can have by switching from disposable to reusable products. Our Litter Free Oceans community is already 1,200 people strong and growing every day!

What you can do:
To take action in your community, sign-up for a Litter Free Oceans Toolkit and share it with your school and friends. Participate in a local litter cleanup or organize your own. Be a champion for the wild and help protect wildlife and our environment from litter.


Green purchasing

Recycling is only part of the solution to ensure our actions and choices are truly sustainable. Purchasing goods with recycled content helps to ensure we create a demand for recycled products and promotes an industry that supports 'green goods'. This ultimately reduces the demand for raw materials or those made from virgin materials.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia has a procurement policy that mandates the purchase of materials with recycled content.

What you can do:
We encourage Australians to make the commitment to buy products with 100% recycled content where possible and buy products with ecolabels including FSC (The Forest Stewardship Council), MSC (The Marine Stewardship Council), Organics, Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and RSPO (The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil).


Plastic bottles

Taronga Conservation Society Australia encourages use of reusable bottles by providing free water refill stations at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. The stations are marked on our zoo maps and mobile phone applications. We also sell Taronga reusable bottles and Keep Cups on site.

We recognise that a reusable bottle may not always be possible, and all our beverage containers are recycled through our dedicated container stream.

Zoo guests can reclaim deposits for their beverage bottles and packaging at our Return and Earn kiosk located opposite our main entrance in Sydney. In the first six months since the kiosk was installed, we have diverted 600,000 containers! Guests also have the option to donate their container deposits to Taronga Conservation Society Australia through our four on-site Return and Earn donation machines.

What you can do:
Individual Australians can make a difference by choosing to use a refillable bottle instead of single-use bottles and cans. If you do have to purchase drinks in single-use bottles, please recycle or redeem your deposit at your nearest Return and Earn container collection point.


Disposable takeaway packaging

Taronga Conservation Society Australia encourages individual Australians to avoid unnecessary disposable packaging in favour of reusable options, but we recognise that this is not always possible.

At our food outlets, Taronga’s zoos have significantly minimised the use of packaging by simply removing it where possible and introducing reusable food baskets for hot food, saving 350,000 plastic containers a year! Where possible, we are also provide dine-in cutlery and plates.

As a last option for takeaway, all of our packaging is made out of 100% cornstarch based compostable material. We maintain a separate waste stream that allows all compostable packaging to actually be turned into compost, including our unique 100% compostable food packaging, straws, cutlery, coffee cups and lids sold in our food outlets and cafes.

What you can do:
When dining out, choose somewhere you can dine-in and use reusable cutlery and plates. Alternatively, bring your reusable takeaway box with you when you are ordering food.


Disposable straws

Taronga Conservation Society Australia encourages Zoo guests to go straw-free or use more sustainable straw options, such as paper or stainless steel.

However, we understand that straws can provide assistance to people who need them due to specific medical requirements or disability, and as such should always be available on request. Straws at Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo are made from 100% biodegradable paper, which we compost with other packaging items.

What you can do:
We encourage Australians to say ‘no straw thanks’ when ordering drinks. Alternatively, if you cannot have your drink without a straw, ask for a reusable one made from metal, or a paper straw that can be recycled or composted.


Coffee cups

Conventional coffee cups cannot be recycled because they are lined with plastic. In developed countries, single-use coffee cups is a huge challenge; in Australia alone billions of cups are produced each year, only to end up in landfill after a single use.

Taronga Conservation Society Australia encourages the use of reusable cups, , although we understand that this may not always be possible. We maintain a separate waste stream so that all compostable packaging can be turned into compost, including our 100% compostable coffee cups and lids sold in our cafes.

However, this is not the case for the majority of single-use takeaway cups that are available in cafes and other venues, which must be disposed through the general waste stream where they end up in landfill due to the plastic lining.

What you can do:
When enjoying your coffee, tea or hot chocolate at the café, ask for a ceramic cup. Alternatively, if you want to have it on the go, remember to always keep your reusable cup with you.



Taronga Conservation Society Australia banned balloons from both Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo and at all Zoo events in 2009. We have maintained a commitment to this policy to reduce the injured wildlife that come into Taronga’s Wildlife Hospital for treatment.

What you can do:
Before using balloons at your next event or celebration, consider the impact they have on native wildlife. Stray balloons can cause devastating injuries to wildlife when swallowed. Please help protect wildlife by not using balloons and becoming a champion for wildlife by telling your family and friends how they can help too.


Disposable bags

Disposable bags can cause havoc to wildlife when when they enter the environment. When it eventually starts to breaks down into smaller particles and pieces they can easily be swallowed by wildlife, work its way up to the food chain, and potentially even end up on your plate!

Taronga Conservation Society Australia banned disposable bags at all of our retail outlets in 2009, instead offering recyclable paper and other reusable alternatives.

What you can do:
When shopping, remember to take your own reusable bags from home. Bags made from sustainable fibres such as canvas may be repaired or repurposed if they become torn or damaged.


Sauce sachets

Individual sauce sachets produce a significant amount of waste that cannot be recycled and quickly adds up when used in mass.

As part of our sustainability commitment, Taronga Conservation Society Australia removed individual sauce sachets from our Zoos in 2017 in favour of refillable pump stations, saving hundreds thousands of single-use items from landfill each year.

What you can do:
Communities can make a difference by encouraging local cafes and restaurants to make a better change. If you notice somewhere that is using individual sauce sachets, ask if they can change to refillable pumps instead.