Colchester Zoo is working to reduce, reuse and recycle its waste.
Following our green policy, we are working to recycle products around the zoo site. For example, the cardboard from our retail and catering departments is segregated and baled, before being recycled and, in addition, metal and glass waste is also recycled and collected. From the 5th October 2015, Colchester Zoo also began to charge the required 5p for a single carrier bag. All large shops in England must charge this fee as stated by the Department for Environmental Food & Rural Affairs. All the money raised from the sale of our plastic bags in donated to Colchester Zoo's charity, Action for the Wild.
With over 800,000 visitors a year, the level of waste produced on the zoo site is high. For many years, we have worked to reduce the waste produced via our visitors and recycle the contents of our bins. Previously the bin bags were emptied and sorted at the local Colchester Skip Hire site, with the remaining waste going to landfill.
We are now however working to reduce our contribution to landfill. The main route for waste disposal in the UK has traditionally been landfill. However, to comply with the requirements of the European Landfill Directive, England and Wales must landfill no more than about 8 million tonnes by 2012/13 and 5.5 million tonnes by 2019/20.
The intention of the landfill tax increase is to discourage landfill. Waste producers must seek alternative mechanisms for managing their waste that should include; reduction, recycling and recovery.
After segregation and sorting for recycling, our waste is now going to go to produce energy-from-waste (EfW). Energy-from-waste is a form of energy recovery, where the waste is burnt at high temperatures to reduce its volume and to create heat energy from the incineration of the waste source. This heat energy is then converted into electrical power.
In waste to energy technologies, nearly all of the carbon content in the waste is emitted as carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. If the waste went to landfill, the amount of methane generated via decomposition of the biodegradable part of the waste would have a higher global warming potential than the carbon dioxide produced by this combustion.
The principal residue from the process will be bottom ash. The bottom ash, including metals, can also be sent for metal recovery and for recycling into road building and construction aggregates.
Our ultimate aim here at Colchester Zoo is still to reduce our waste produced and recycle whatever products we can, but our ultimate landfill contribution is now reduced too