April 22 is Earth Day, and here at The Houston Zoo we’ll be celebrating on Saturday, April 20 and Sunday, April 21 from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm.  Started in 1970, Earth Day is a day that raises awareness of ways we can protect our planet.  Earth Day is important because it reminds us to take action now and protect our environment before it’s too late.

At the Houston Zoo, every day is Earth Day.  One major focus we have: Recycling. We take recycling seriously.  Not only does our staff recycle, but we encourage our guests to recycle as well by placing recycling bins throughout the Zoo.  Over the past two years over 90 tons of recycling has been collected – that’s equal to 30 female adult Asian elephants!

Did you know you can recycle your old cell phone? There is a cell phone collection bin (chargers and batteries can also be dropped off) located near the main gift shop.  Recycling your phone at the Zoo today will not only ensure it is reused or properly disposed of, but can also help gorillas!  Read more about how cell phones are linked to gorillas in the wild here. Plus, proceeds from our cell phone recycling program benefit the Zoo’s wildlife conservation efforts.

We are always looking for new ways to be environmentally friendly. What can we all do to help our environment?  Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!  It’s as easy as 1,2,3.

1. Reduce

Reducing our intake of certain products can dramatically help our environment.  We can reduce our use of paper and plastic shopping bags by using reusable shopping bags.  Over a lifetime, use of reusable bags by just one person takes the place of over 22,000 plastic bags. Also, instead of buying cases of bottled water, use re-usable lightweight aluminum-constructive water bottles.  If everybody stopped using plastic water bottles we can put an end to the nearly 18,834,000,000 bottles that end up in landfills each year (that’s in the U.S. alone!).  We can also reduce our energy consumption by carpooling with friends to work or school and by doing something as simple as unplugging your cell phone charger when it is not being used.

 

2. Reuse

In addition to re-usable shopping bags and water bottles, you can also donate items that you no longer need or want. Items such as clothing, toys, and electronics can be dropped off at consignment shops or thrift stores.  Another way we can reuse is by purchasing used items like books and cars. Take silverware and a reusable cup to work and cut down on your use of plastic cutlery.  Borrow, rent, or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations or tools.  All of these actions put together can help us waste less.

 

3. Recycle

Do you know all the things that can be recycled?  Recycling can be done in the following areas:  paper, plastic, metal, compost, oil, batteries, electronics, glass, and tires.  By recycling not only do we reduce waste, we also save energy. Recycling requires less energy than creating new products made from raw materials.  Recycling also reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change and, most importantly, it helps sustain the environment for future generations for humans and animals alike.

This Earth Day we challenge you to take these three steps to preserve our beautiful Earth and to spread the word.  What changes will you take on?  How will you make every day Earth Day?  If we all work together, we can make a difference and create a better tomorrow.

For more information on the Zoo’s conservation efforts or tips on what you can do to help our environment, check out the Do Your Part page on the Houston Zoo’s website.

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