Environmental sustainability at Assiniboine Park Conservancy (APC) is rooted in a connection to nature. We are focused on reducing our ecological footprint and protecting natural resources while identifying measurable sustainability targets.
APC defines environmental sustainability as the responsible management of resources for the benefit of all living species through operations that minimize our environmental impact.
The following focus areas contribute to our sustainability strategy.
We seek first to minimize the waste we produce, then to maximize recycling, composting, and re-use opportunities.
We are committed to waste diversion through a wide range of composting and recycling programs.
We are also committed to reducing single-use plastics. We do not offer plastic straws or plastic bags in any of our facilities. We ensure that our paper products have a high percentage of recycled content and choose compostable take-out containers wherever possible.
Visitors will find recycling bins throughout the Park, Zoo, and The Leaf. These bins accept paper, cardboard, empty drink containers, white and clear plastics, and glass. Remember to empty containers of liquids and food waste prior to recycling!
Recycling tip: coffee cups and greasy pizza boxes can’t be recycled, so both should go to the waste bin.
We also offer specialized recycling programs that open to the public:
Batteries (up to 12V in size):
- Drop off at Wild Things Unique Gifts at the Zoo entrance (head to the back of the store) or at the Visitor Services desk at The Leaf.
- Please individually bag or tape with electrical tape the terminals of button-style batteries and Lithium-Ion batteries. All other batteries can be placed loose in the containers.
- Batteries are recycled in partnership with Call2Recycle.
- Natural corks only please (no synthetic/plastic corks).
- Drop off at Wild Things Unique Gifts at the Zoo entrance.
- Corks are recycled through the ReCork program.
- We accept old gift cards, membership cards, and other similar items. Please ensure they do not have any sensitive information like credit card numbers.
- You can bring your old cards to Visitor Services at the Zoo entrance or The Leaf.
- These are recycled through Terracycle.
Strings of Holiday Lights:
- In late December and early January, you can bring your broken holiday light strings to the Zoo entrance for recycling.
- We accept LED strands. If you have older incandescent-style strands, please remove the bulbs before dropping off for recycling.
- Holiday lights are recycled through Urban Mine.
Behind the scenes, staff also recycle metal, disposable masks, snack wrappers, and more!
At APC, our goal is to decrease the demand for potable water and keep harmful contaminants out of the local watershed.
For example, at The Leaf we have cisterns below the building that collect a portion of rainwater that falls on the roof. This water is then used on site to irrigate plants.
We also want to help you do your part: we’ve provided water bottle refill stations throughout the Zoo, Park, and Leaf for your convenience. In the summer you will find a water bottle fill station in the Park at the Riley Family Duck Pond shelter, and five stations in the Zoo. During the winter, you can fill your water bottle at The Leaf.
Energy & Climate
We are working to reduce our demand for energy, improve the efficiency of our energy use, and increase our energy supply from renewable sources.
Examples of energy efficiency initiatives at APC include:
- Use of proximity sensors in many office spaces to ensure lights turn off when not needed.
- Many of our light fixtures have been switched to LED.
- We use highly efficient heat pumps in many buildings to reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling.
- Several buildings use Building Management Systems to help maximize efficiency.
- Tundra Grill is heated using a ground-source heat pump, allowing us to decommission the traditional boiler.
We are working to eliminate products and chemicals that represent the greatest risk to human health and wildlife.
Education & Engagement
Through educational programming and engaging on-site initiatives, we aim to provide learning opportunities that explore the wonders of nature and inspire people to conserve nature for the future. Some of the initiatives staff, volunteers, and visitors might see through the year include Earth Day celebrations, carpooling initiatives, Plastic-Free July, Commuter Challenge, and Bike to Work Day.
Through a variety of initiatives, we are working to reduce fossil-fuel based transportation to, from, and within Assiniboine Park.
- We have two bike repair stations in the Park near the east side of the Riley Family Duck Pond and the north side of the ultimate fields along Assiniboine Park Drive.
- The Domo Trolley is a free transportation service that runs on a loop within Assiniboine Park during the summer months. Click here for more information.
- We also offer electric vehicle charging stations. One EV charging station is available for public use at the Zoo entrance. There are nine level-one chargers in the main parking lot at The Leaf.
Green Space Management
Our goal is to protect Assiniboine Park’s ecological integrity and green spaces. We have a dedicated Horticulture and Forestry team that monitors the plants in our space and a Conservation team that monitors sensitive species within our boundaries.
We strive to reduce our environmental and social impacts arising from the specification of new materials, goods, and services.
Our policy is to attempt to reuse or repair before acquiring new equipment, and we ask suppliers to follow sustainability guidelines.
Here are some examples of how we reduce our environmental and social impact:
- Gather Craft Kitchen & Bar and the Park Café are both certified Green Restaurants through the Green Restaurants Association, and Tundra Grill will be added to that list in early 2024!
- In our restaurants we feature vegan and vegetarian dishes to offer visitors the chance to choose lower-impact food options.
- When purchasing cleaning supplies, we choose eco-friendly products with minimal packaging. For example, we use laundry strips to wash our staff uniforms, and highly concentrated products to clean floors and windows. These choices reduce our plastic usage up to 90 per cent from conventional products!