Welcome to the Emerald City. Our award-winning sustainability efforts are a testament to Seattle's national green leadership.



As the region’s premier zoo and in keeping with Seattle’s Climate Action Plan goals, Woodland Park Zoo aspires to raise the bar of environmental performance and become the community’s most hands-on, living showcase of sustainability.

Our Sustainable Zoo Plan provides a roadmap for preserving and enhancing natural resources that sustain wildlife and the human economy.

Our success in increasing green infrastructure while reducing our impact on the planet is thanks to our public partners, the Seattle Park District investment, passionate staff, and committed volunteers and guests.



Recycle your old cell phones and handheld devices to help save gorillas!

Woodland Park Zoo is happy to be partnering with ECO-CELL, a company which reimburses organizations for collecting used handheld electronics, batteries and accessories and keeps them out of landfills. All items received by Woodland Park Zoo and ECO-CELL, including batteries, accessories and cell phones that cannot be reused, will be recycled using the best demonstrated technologies for recycling e-waste. This helps reduce the demand for Coltan, an ore used in phones and other electronic devices. Coltan is mined primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where habitat critical for the survival of endangered species, including the western lowland gorilla, is being destroyed.

Visitors can now bring used handheld electronics (cell phones, MP3 players, handheld games, e-readers, digital still and video cameras, laptops, GPS, portable hard drives, etc.) to the zoo for recycling. Receptacle boxes, pictured here, are available for collection of items at both the South and West zoo entrances. We’re also happy to announce that the litigation department of the Seattle law firm Lasher, Holzapfel, Sperry & Ebberson is helping save gorillas too! For every device you turn in at one of the receptacles, Lasher will donate $1 towards gorilla conservation.* Woodland Park Zoo will use funds from ECO-CELL and from the Lasher law Firm to support the Mbeli Bai Gorilla Project and other great ape conservation programs.

(*matching donations for apply up to a designated amount each Quarter throughout 2018)

Zoo Doo® Compost

Woodland Park Zoo began this composting program in 1985 as a resource conservation program and as a way for the zoo to save money on disposal fees. Now the program composts some 780 tons of animal waste per year from our herbivorous animals that would be otherwise dumped into the landfill at an annual expense of more than $110,000. Zoo Doo recycles manure and bedding materials from the zoo’s non-primate herbivores and turns it into approximately 1,000 cubic yards of the most exotic compost in the Northwest.

Woodland Park Zoo Doo is available at the ZooStore year round and available in bulk during twice annual Fecal Fests.

See how Zoo Doo is made

Carbon Emissions

The zoo has joined with other Seattle area employers in pledging to reduce emissions to meet or beat the reduction targets of the Kyoto Protocol.

Green Team

The Green Team is a multi-disciplinary group of zoo employees who pursue, promote and encourage sustainable daily practices at Woodland Park Zoo.



The zoo is one of the first organizations to join the new EnviroStars, an expanded program that brings together green business initiatives from around the region under one umbrella. As an EnviroStars Champion, the zoo is recognized for taking sustainable actions through saving energy and water, reducing waste and pollution, choosing safer products and cutting greenhouse gas emissions.



In 2014, Woodland Park Zoo, the Phinney Neighborhood Association (PNA) and Seattle City Light partnered with Community Solar on Phinney Ridge, to bring to life a community solar project. The project produces approximately 75,000 kWh of energy from solar panels installed on building roofs at the zoo and PNA, making it the largest community solar project in Washington state. City Light customers participated in the program by purchasing energy from the solar-modules and receiving annual credits for the amount of energy generated by their units. 

Solar at the Zoo

As part of the Community Solar project, new solar panels were installed on the roofs of the zoo’s Rain Forest Food Pavilion and the Commissary building, with installed capacity of 16kW and 44kW of solar power, respectively.


Solar energy isn’t new for the zoo—in 2011, solar panels were installed on our Historic Carousel, providing enough renewable energy to power the carousel all year long. That’s 100,000 rides worth of power! Even our parking meters feature small solar panels.

This community project marked an exciting next step towards the zoo’s sustainability goal to reduce carbon use by 20 percent from 1990 levels by 2020. Together with our community, this project brings us closer to meeting our ambitious yet attainable, mission-driven goal for a more sustainable future.

To learn more about the project, browse the following FAQs or visit Seattle City Light’s Community Solar webpage.