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Thoughtful Thursday: America Recycles Day

November 15th is America Recycles Day, an annual celebration promoting source reduction, buying products made from recycled materials and recycling!

by Laura Bankey, Director of Conservation

Published November 13, 2014

recycling

This day is also an opportunity to reflect on the wise use of our planet’s resources. It reminds us that we need to take greater responsibility for our daily actions and choices.  

At the National Aquarium, we’re continually challenging ourselves to improve our efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle.  It’s important to us because the positive results are directly linked to the health of the animals and ecosystems we care about. 

Like many of you we consider our purchases carefully, take full advantage of our municipal recycling programs and often find additional opportunities to give our waste a second chance.  In 2013 alone, we sent more than 87 tons of materials to the recycling center and composted more than 28 tons of organic material.  

In addition to all of the materials listed above, we have also made great progress in recycling our most precious natural resource – WATER.  By converting the old seal exhibit pool to a 40,000 gallon cistern, we were able to recycle 281,000 gallons of rainwater in 2013.  We then used the water to irrigate our native plant gardens on the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Waterfront Park. That was 281,000 gallons of water that we did not need to purchase to maintain our beautiful gardens and 281,000 gallons of water that was not shuttled directly into the harbor without being filtered by native plants!

You can do this at home. There are several options available for recycling rainwater; but rain barrels and rain gardens are the most popular. Like everyone else, the National Aquarium hopes to stretch our budgets by maximizing the use of the items we purchase.  We also want to make sure we minimize our impact on our natural world by not extracting resources we don’t really need.

How are you going to celebrate America Recycles Day? Tell us in the comments section! 

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