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Florida Aquarium Wants Gasparilla Paradegoers To Recycle Their Treasure

Daylina Miller
WUSF Public Media
Participants in the 2018 Gasparilla Pirate Fest hand out beads. Paradegoers are asked to recycle beads instead of throwing them out.

With Gasparilla Pirate Fest invading Tampa Saturday, there are concerns about what happens after the parade to the beads that pirates hand out.

The beads typically end up being burned for electricity, buried in landfills or tossed into the depths of Hillsborough Bay.

The Florida Aquarium is hoping to avoid that last thing from happening with their “Keep the Beads Out of the Bay” promotion.

“One of our roles is to engage the public at a broader level,” said Florida Aquarium President and CEO Roger Germann. “Not just involved with us, but giving it incentive to reduce, reuse and recycle, so I’m excited to see how many beads come in.”

The Aquarium is offering people discounted tickets or potentially free admission if they recycle their beads at the site’s drop off location. Anyone who brings in 10 pounds of beads gets $10 off admission. People who bring in 30 or more pounds of loot will receive free admission.

“Already in the few days that the promotion has been running, we see an extra energy from people,” said Germann. “They are connecting with the mission.”

While the Florida Aquarium will be collecting beads through Sunday, the city of Tampa is opening five drop-off locations where people can recycle their beads.

Starting February 4th, residents can head to the Copeland Park, Kate Jackson and Port of Tampa community centers, MacDonald Training Center, and Loretta Ingraham Recreation Complex to recycle their Gasparilla beads.

The city wants residents to remember that the beads cannot be recycled curbside because they can tangle the city’s recycling equipment.

Aldo Puccini is WUSF/USF Zimmerman School digital news intern for spring 2018.
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