Source of inspiration for sustainability; ARTIS

Published on Wednesday, September 13News

It’s time for another round in our ‘sustainable source of inspiration’ section!

We regularly highlight a cultural institution, one of the companies or one of the parks in the field of sustainability. This time ARTIS; where a lot is done!

The ambition
ARTIS wants to contribute to a greener and liveable world and aims to make its impact on the environment as positive as possible. The ambition is to be a park without an ecological footprint by 2030. By then, visitors will be walking in a nature park that is climate-positive, uses no fossil fuels and reuses all waste streams. A gigantic challenge. By being climate positive in 2030, ARTIS shows its visitors that if ARTIS – with its monumental buildings, millions of visitors and high energy demand – can be sustainable, it is possible everywhere.

Ambition ARTIS natural gas-free
The Artisplein with the adjacent ARTIS-Groote Museum, café restaurant de Plantage and ARTIS-Micropia, has been connected to a heat and cold storage (TES) since 2014. The whole of ARTIS will eventually be connected to a thermal storage system and will soon be heated with water from the surrounding canals, which are about 18 degrees in the summer. That hot water is stored underground and brought up to temperature in winter with heat pumps. According to ecologists, this may also have a positive effect on the local marine life in the canals, because the canal water then cools down a few degrees in the summer.

In 2020 and 2021, a number of animal accommodations will be made more sustainable. For example, the enclosures of the golden-cheeked gibbons and the spider monkeys have been made natural gas-free and are sustainably heated. By also achieving smaller goals, such as installing draft flaps, door closers, LED lighting, lowering the heating and also making employees themselves more aware of the need for energy reduction, ARTIS already achieved a gas reduction of 15 percent by 2022. The building De Volharding from 1866 has recently been sustainably restored, fully insulated and now the first national monument with solar panels on the roof.

Ambition to halve tap water use
ARTIS uses a lot of water. The ponds, the water features in the animal enclosures, the plants and the animals, they all need water. No shortage of rainwater. ARTIS makes good use of this. There are water storage tanks at various places in the garden that store the rainwater underground. ARTIS will further expand rainwater collection in the coming years. The water in the Savannah and the elephant basin is taken from the adjacent canal. The toilets in the ARTIS-Groote Museum are flushed with rainwater and in the future we want to use canal or rainwater in all sanitary facilities.

Ambition to use materials circularly
Elephants poop up to 100 kilos a day. ARTIS has developed a sustainable park bench made from elephant dung in collaboration with five students from the AMS Institute. The bench consists of 65% elephant dung and 35% recycled plastic. ARTIS has been working for some time on solutions for the reuse of manure, which is often full of valuable raw materials. For example, part of the elephant dung is annually transformed into ‘bokashi’. Bokashi is the Japanese word for a mix of manure, plant residues and microorganisms that ferment together to form a soil improver. This soil improver is food for the plants in the park, such as in the edible garden. Other manure is composted at a local farm near Amsterdam.

Food scraps are almost non-existent. In 2022, ARTIS and catering partner Vermaat conducted a trial with a smart scale to prevent food waste. A sensor reads what kind of food is thrown away and the software registers the amount and type. The offer will be adjusted accordingly.

Ambition to offer plant-based food
ARTIS wants to inspire and activate its visitors during their day out to make sustainable choices in what they eat. That is why the catering industry in ARTIS has been vegetarian since the beginning of 2022. The production of vegetarian food costs much less water and raw materials than that of meat. The aim is to also reduce other animal proteins as much as possible. That is why our poffertjes, for example, are made without eggs and milk. You can’t taste that!

ARTIS’ sustainability policy is constantly evolving. In this way, ARTIS tries to contribute to a greener world. Mail with sustainability in the title if you have suggestions on how ARTIS can be even more sustainable, or if you have questions or want to know more.