Here's where you can recycle your unwanted Gasparilla beads
Each year, tons of beads are strewn across Tampa's Bayshore Boulevard or land in Tampa Bay as part of the Gasparilla festivities.
The city of Tampa has set up recycling locations where parade-goers can take their unwanted beads, so they can be recycled.
The city's waste department partners with the MacDonald Training Center, a local nonprofit that provides job skills and helps people with disabilities.
Starting Jan. 30 and lasting through May, residents can drop off their beads during normal business hours at these Tampa locations:
- Kate Jackson Community Center – 821 S Rome Ave.
- Loretta Ingraham Recreation Complex – 1611 N Hubert Ave.
- Copeland Park Center – 11001 N 15th St.
- MacDonald Training Center – 5420 W Cypress St.
The beads are cleaned and repackaged for use next year.
According to a news release, it's estimated that more than 330,000 necklaces weighing over 10,000 pounds have been delivered to the MacDonald Training Center since the program's inception.
It's also an effort to protect marine life, because plastic beads that remain in the water do not decompose and could harm marine wildlife, according to the release.