With a mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, the National Aquarium recently eliminated all single-use plastic foodware such as cups, plates, utensils, beverage containers and more from its operations earlier this year. Over a 45-day period, the nonprofit collaborated with partners to replace the items with options that can be composted, recycled or reused ensuring their own operations are also authentic to their work.
This effort is just the latest in a long list of conservation efforts including eliminating plastic from the onsite gift shops, offering refillable/reusable water bottles for sale rather than bottled water in disposable plastic, and transitioning all catering services to provide sustainable and environmentally friendly options.
Aquarium staff also address the topic of plastic pollution with guests: To date, more than 13,000 guests have participated in talks about plastic pollution in the Blacktip Reef exhibit, and since early 2016, more than 14,000 guest have visited to Aquarium’s water bottle education cart to learn about the importance of reducing plastic use.
With annual attendance rates over 1.3 million, staff hope the transition at the Inner Harbor facility will raise awareness about plastic pollution and inspire people to think about their daily choices and make changes in their lives to help the oceans.