'Zoo doo' being used to help our community - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

'Zoo doo' being used to help our community

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

We've all smelled it at the zoo at one time or another.  Well now, the zoo is putting that manure to good use.  In fact, it's now helping our community, and could even end up in your food.

They're calling it "zoo doo." Jim Schnormeier,General Curator at Reid Park Zoo says, "We are going to have our hoofed animals, which includes our elephants, contributing to the composting that will be done south of Tucson."  

Now every week, animal and food waste will be delivered from the Reid Park Zoo to San Xavier Co-op Farm.  This is the beginning of a new partnership between the City of Tucson and the University of Arizona. The Mayor and City Council recently approved an intergovernmental agreement with the University of Arizona to provide organic material to the Compost Cats. 

Francis LaSala, Environmental Manager for the city says,"This is the first large scale project of this kind for the city, we are really trying to focus our goal on diverting more waste from the landfill."

Chet Phillips is the project supervisor of Compost Cats, a student run organization that collects food waste and other organic materials for composting.  He says"We're very excited because this is the day our partnership with the city of Tucson begins."

Phillips says "We have the potential to divert millions of pounds of food waste, zoo manure, and green waste from city parks," says Phillips.

The process takes three to four months. then the compost is ready to be distributed throughout the community. The zoo will save money by having the city pick up their animal waste. Also, by sending animal waste and green waste to the Compost Cats facility in the San Xavier District off of I-19, the City will keep approximately 550 tons of waste out of the landfill. 

To learn more about the program click here.

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