By Jaime Wilson, Digital Media Manager & Green Team Lead
In July 2017, the Sacramento Zoo underwent a complete rebrand. Rebranding an organization is a huge feat and once you have your fancy new logo, you don’t want the old logo on anything! But of course, that means replacing uniforms, name tags, cases of letterhead and so much more. The waste of throwing all of these items away would be enormous, and for a conservation organization like the Sacramento Zoo, this was not an option!
During the planning phase of the rebrand, a small team of passionate zoo employees joined together to find creative solutions to keep as much out of the landfill as possible. The recycle/rebrand project was born! A coordinated effort was developed with the roll-out of the rebrand that began with the enthusiastic collection of the now out-of-date items, followed by an extensive repurposing plan.
Figuring out what to do with uniforms that had the old logo proved to be the first challenge. Sweatshirts were cut into sections for animal bedding and donated to a local wildlife rescue, t-shirts were cut up for use as rags and polo shirts are still being used in an animal enrichment public education station where visitors can braid them into ropes that are washed and given to the animals. Unworn uniforms were donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network for distribution to their partners in other countries and 403 pieces were shredded down to be recycled back into fabric. All 1,958 uniform pieces collected were repurposed down to the buttons for crafts. We even used the docent’s yellow docent fleece vests to make adorable lion pillows in the pre-K Little Peeps class!
1,339 pounds of paper products with the outdated brand could have just been recycled, but our goal was to reuse it at least once more before it hit the recycle bin! Brochures with animal photos were cut up for summer camp and visitor crafts. After the zoo name was cut off of stickers, they were used to cover logos on presentation folders that were then donated to a local school. Renewal letters and leftover brochure paper are being used for animal enrichment in the form of paper chains, and shredded paper for primates to search through for food. We made notepads, flashcard rings, notebooks and even some Christmas decorations with all that paper! In the end 74% of old branded material was repurposed or reused, and only 26% went directly into the recycle bin.
The more challenging items to repurpose were plastic name tags, stamps and signage. While 6% of the signage and vinyl sign stickers ended up in the landfill, over 3,261 square feet of vinyl and plastic signs are being repurposed and recycled throughout the zoo and beyond. The name tags turned into bedazzle-your-own tags for Zoo Teens and the stamps have been reused with new foam animal prints for camp.
Overall, the Sacramento Zoo recycle/rebrand project was a success with staff from all departments helping give items with the old logo at least one more life cycle.