-- Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Denver Zoo teaming up to give you the scoop on the power of poop during a special “Tour de Tuk Tuk” stop this Thursday --

March 20, 2012, Colorado Springs, CO – There’s a lot of poo at the zoo, but thanks to conservation-minded staff and sustainability efforts, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Denver Zoo are keeping TONS of it (we mean that literally) out of landfills every year!

Denver Zoo is making a pit stop at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo this Thursday morning, March 22, on the way to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Green Summit and mid-year meeting in Palm Springs, California. As AZA’s first Green Award winner, Denver Zoo will showcase a gasification prototype - a motorized three-wheeled rickshaw called a Tuk Tuk that utilizes animal poop and human trash as fuel. The Tuk Tuk was created to test the gasification technology planned for use in Denver Zoo’s new exhibit, Toyota Elephant Passage. Denver Zoo built this innovative system from scratch, converting more than 90 percent of the zoo's waste into usable energy and eliminating 1.5 million pounds of trash annually. 

“We are so fortunate to work in such a collaborative field, where innovative ideas are shared. Ultimately, we must work together to ensure the wellbeing of animals around the world,” said Denver Zoo President/CEO Craig Piper.

At Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs, giraffe and elephants are the biggest poop producers, filling 32 giant dumpsters every week. Instead of dumping the poop, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is now sending it to a Bestway Disposal composting site near Fountain. In just these two animal areas, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has gone from 96 yards of waste per week to just two yards of waste - that’s approximately 680 tons of material being diverted from the landfill annually. This year, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is working on expanding composting efforts to include hippos, the animal food kitchen, and Grizzly Grill (managed by Service Systems Associates). Composting is nature’s way of processing decomposed organic material and returning the nutrients back to the ground. It creates a rich, dark soil that helps just about anything grow, and also helps reduce pest problems, decreases the need for pesticides, improves moisture retention in the soil, and increases the nutrient levels in food grown in it.

“Waste can be divided into four piles - compost, reuse, recycling, and trash,” said Cheyenne Mountain Zoo composting queen Mindy Carney. “As a conservation organization, our goal is to make that trash pile by far the smallest.”

With innovative green business practices, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and Denver Zoo are saving money and educating zoo-goers on ways to reduce their environmental impact to conserve resources for both people and animals.