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THE FLORIDA AQUARIUM ENCOURAGES BEAD RECYCLING WITH GASPARILLA PROMOTION Collect beads to help protect marine life and our waterways and receive discounted admission.

January 11, 2024
The Florida Aquarium


Tampa, FL (January 11, 2024) – The community is invited to join the crew at The Florida Aquarium to help keep beads out of the Bay during Gasparilla. Revelers are encouraged to drop off beads collected during the celebration at the Aquarium for recycling. Supporters of this Bead-Free Bay initiative will receive 50 percent off one adult general admission ticket for every five-gallon bucket of recycled beads delivered to the Aquarium. The promotion is available January 20 through February 11, 2024.

The effort is part of The City of Tampa’s Bead-Free Bay initiative to help protect our marine ecosystem. Gasparilla beads are not only harmful to wildlife, throwing beads into the Bay is also illegal according to Florida Statute 403.413.

“The Florida Aquarium is committed to reducing plastic pollution, and the beads that are so synonymous with this celebration often find their way into our waterways where they can be ingested by, and harm, wildlife,” said Dr. Debborah Luke, Senior Vice President of Conservation at The Florida Aquarium. “These beads, like all other plastics, break down into microplastics which never decompose and remain present in the ecosystem for hundreds of years.”

All the beads collected will be donated to the MacDonald Training Center, a nonprofit organization that helps adults with disabilities prepare for the workforce through vocational training, employment pathways, residential supports and life-enrichment opportunities. Workers will sanitize and repackage the beads for reuse at future events. Funds raised support the Center’s career and education programs.

Following this year’s Gasparilla celebrations, divers from The Florida Aquarium and other organizations will participate in a bead cleanup. Hundreds of pounds of beads and debris are removed from local waters each year.

Contact The Florida Aquarium communications@flaquarium.org

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