Detroit Zoo to be powered entirely by renewable energy in 2021

The Detroit Zoo is creating a healthier environment for its animals, visitors and the planet.

The facility says by the end of next year it will be fully powered by renewable energy. That power will come from wind farms in Michigan. It's all part of a new partnership with DTE Energy.

The move will prevent emissions of as much planet-warming carbon dioxide as 8,740 acres of U.S. forests soak up in one year. 

"Commitments like the one the zoo is making today, help drive the development of Michigan-made renewable energy and help accelerate the state of Michigan's clean energy transformation," Rene Dimitry with DTE Energy said at a press conference this week. 

Waste reduction is also a priority in the zoo's green journey. 

The zoo has stopped selling single-use plastic water bottles, as well as plastic bags, straws and lids. They're also upgrading many of the lights in their buildings to LED lighting. 

 It's estimated the move will keep about 60,000 plastic bottles out of Michigan landfills each year.

Detroit Zoological Society CEO Ron Kagan says ecological sustainability is a top priority for the organization. The 125-acre zoo in Royal Oak also has permeable pavement to prevent storm water runoff and an anaerobic digester that converts animal waste and food scraps into compost and energy.

The Associated Press contributed to this report