Hammocks for the bears, orangutans and other animals are made from old fire hoses from the Wauwatosa fire Department. Many other items are repurposed as enrichment items for our animals, such as cardboard boxes and tubes, PVC pipes and barrels.
Employee shirts that have reached the end of their usable lifespan are reused as towels and rags in our maintenance, custodial, and grounds departments, as well as the Train Shop.
Every fall, Zoo leaves are collected, shredded, and used as a mulch in Spring! Instead of collecting these leaves and sending them to a landfill, the Zoo shreds them into a mulch that is used on all of the garden beds across the grounds. The mulch helps conserve, suppresses weeds, and keeps the plants healthy. The Zoo has participated in this program since 2012.
The Zoo also reuses downed wood from trees in its forest. The Urban Wood program utilizes trees removed from the Zoo's urban forest to their highest potential. The Zoo uses trees that must be removed due to construction, disease, death or storm damage. The trees that are suitable for lumber are then stored, milled into lumber and dried in our service yard for up to 2 years. Urban Wood has been used on projects throughout the Zoo, including the train trestle, the Bug's special exhibit, the nature play area, the stroller booth, the Aviary and the Jaguar exhibit. The Urban Wood program has kept many valuable trees from ending up in the landfill or used as firewood, and in the process has saved the Zoo thousands in material costs.