Recycling plastic and cardboard is a great way to help the environment. The less trash that ends up in landfills, the oceans or elsewhere, the better. Putting your plastic bottles in the recycling bin isn’t the only way they can have a second life! At the PRC, we provide the primates with enrichment every day. Enrichment comes in many forms but essentially it encompasses any item or task that engages the primates in species-specific behaviors or thought. Many different types of enrichment include an edible treat the monkeys or chimps have to figure out how to retrieve. This is a fun and rewarding way to help them practice natural foraging behaviors. Many enrichment items can be made out of recycled materials like cereal boxes, plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, paper towel rolls and so much more!

Two examples of recycled enrichment made for monkeys are plastic bottle treat shakers and paper roll Christmas crackers. Both are easy to make! The shakers are made from cleaned plastic bottles that are filled with pine shavings and a variety of treats — popcorn, cereal, almonds and coconut shavings. After they are filled, a small slot is cut out to stick the treats through. The lid is hot glued closed in the hopes the tricky primates won’t find the easier way of getting to the goodies. And viola—an engaging and interactive enrichment activity for the apes and monkeys to enjoy!

 Clara prepping the enrichment

 The Christmas crackers are even easier! To make these just cut out a piece of wrapping paper large enough to wrap around a toilet paper or paper towel roll twice, then twist one end. Fill with shavings and goodies, then twist the other end and they’re ready to share with some excited monkeys!

The finished products!

If you’d like to make some enrichment for the apes or monkeys using your own recycled items, check out our off-site volunteer program.