Recycling Gasparilla beads now easier than ever

Image 1 of 3

It's one of the best parts of Gasparilla: Thousands and thousands of beads but this treasure goes to trash fast.

The Florida Aquarium is offering mateys a new way to kiss their treasured booty goodbye.

"If you collect beads after this weekend or at the children's parade last weekend, bring them into the aquarium,” Aquarium President and CEO Roger Germann said. "For every ten pounds you bring in, you get ten dollars off of your admission here at the aquarium, and if you bring over 30 pounds, we'll give you a free ticket.”

The collection lasts Jan. 21-27. Germann says they’re doing it to prevent post-parade plastic from ending up in the bay. Every year, dive teams fish out hundreds of pounds of beads tangled around marine life, or lying on the bottom of the depths.

Aquarium Volunteer Michael Griffin says they've already received thousands of strands.

"When they come in they put them in the buckets, and we weigh them,” Griffin said.

By turning in your beads, you're not just helping the environment. You're also creating jobs for others.

"We're going to give those to the McDonald's training center here in Tampa,” Germann said. “What they do is they put special needs folks back to work, and reselling them for future use."

Proof that one man's trash can be another man's treasure.