Composting is a way to recapture nutrients from plant clippings and herbivore animal waste. Before constructing our compost site, the N.C. Zoo had to dispose of grass and plant clippings along with manure from elephants, rhinoceros, bison and elk. We had to use petroleum fuel to transport these materials to disposal sites far from the Zoo. Since 1996, we have operated our own large-scale compost site on the Zoo grounds.
The Zoo's Composting center is surfaced with recycled coal fly ash and processes manure, bedding, plant material and kitchen scraps. The compost site allows the Zoo to save considerable money. Because the site is located on the Zoo grounds, waste materials do not have to be hauled away, saving fuel and landfill tipping fees. This operation generates enough high quality compost that we do not have to purchase topsoil or other amendments...another source of savings!