Donating unwanted Gasparilla beads helps local non-profit

The Gasparilla fun might be over, but now you can be part of preparations for next year’s festivities while helping the environment.

The city of Tampa is collecting Gasparilla beads in an effort to recycle and re-purpose them for future Gasparillas.

Beads can pose a threat to marine life if they end up in the water. The plastic can take a thousand years to break down into smaller pieces called microplastics, which never decompose.

The Florida Aquarium is offering an incentive as well to encourage people to participate in the drive. For every 5 gallon bucket of beads a person donates, they can receive a half price ticket for admission. 

The Florida Aquarium is collecting beads now through February 5.

The Aquarium then donates the beads to the MacDonald Training Center, a nonprofit empowering people with disabilities. The program helps provide valuable vocational training to the Center’s clients.

People can also take unwanted beads to the following collection sites through May 2022.

  • 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.

Learn more at