Posts Tagged 'green'

A Fun, Green Way to Embrace the Holiday Season!

Blog-Header-FamiliesExpertU

Are your friends and family taking part in the holiday spirit by doing random acts of kindness this time of year? I’ve seen loads of wonderful, heart-warming ideas floating around online that encourage us to do something nice for someone without expecting anything in return.

I wonder if we might take a slightly different take on this great trend. Random acts of “green-ness” help not only our neighbors, but also the oceans and the planet.

Here are a few ideas that will hopefully inspire your family to get in on this giving time of year:

  • Carry two bags along on your next walk outside. Picking up recyclable items and litter on the sidewalk or in the park is one way to ensure that those items don’t end up in our storm drains and later in the ocean.
  • Give neighbors, mail carriers, hairdressers a reusable water bottle (or coffee mug) as a thank you for all they do.
  • Surprise fellow shoppers by buying a couple extra re-usable bags and offering them to people in line at the cash register.
  • !rite a thank you letter (with kiddo art!) to a local environmental group or advocate who is working hard to help oceans and the world’s aquatic treasures.
  • Thank a stranger in the grocery store for bringing their re-usable bag in instead of using the plastic one.

If you witness an act of green-ness or have ideas that you’d like to share, share them in the comments section! We’d love to hear from you!

Blog-Header-HeatherDoggett

National Aquarium First Attraction to be Named Maryland Green Travel Partner

maryland green travelWe are very pleased to announce that we have been named the first Maryland attraction to be part of the Maryland Green Travel program!

This statewide program recognizes tourism businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact. The program, developed through a partnership of the Maryland Office of Tourism, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Maryland Tourism Council in support of the Governor O’Malley’s Smart, Green and Growing initiative, encourages environmentally-friendly practices in all aspects of the state’s tourism industry and promotes Maryland as a green destination for the eco-minded traveler.

Our mission at the National Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, and that starts right here in our buildings, on our grounds and throughout our company culture. Conservation is in everything we do. Our Internal Conservation Committee (ICC) meets regularly to discuss and implement ways to incorporate green practices within our everyday activities and operations from recycling and energy efficiency to contract services and hosting green events.

Some of our many efforts include a green roof over the Animal Planet Australia: Wild Extremes exhibit and bleachers made from recycled materials in the Dolphin Discovery amphitheater.

national aquarium green roof

Locally grown, sustainable and organic foods can be found in the Harbor Market Kitchen, where disposable utensils, cups and containers are minimized and are made from compostable materials and visitors are asked to recycle and compost food waste.

Recycle bins

Green-minded souvenirs are on sale at the Aquarium gift shop. High-efficiency hand-dryers are found in the restrooms and green cleaning products are used by all departments, including custodial and biological programs!

ECycled motherboards!

ECycled motherboards!

In 2011, we’re happy to report we:

  • Collected 20.24 tons of organic waste for compositing
  • Diverted 45.72 tons of trash, 347 pounds of technotrash and 448 pounds of batteries from reaching landfills by recycling
  • Recycled 1,350 gallons of waste cooking into biodiesel
  • Recycled 26.95 tons (75.8%) of construction debris
  • Saved 3.3 megawatts of energy
  • Saved 3.5 tons of solid waste by using recycled paper, vegetable-based inks and wind power to produce their Watermarks newsletter!

Click here to learn more about National Aquarium’s green business practices.

We aim to be a role model for resource conservation. By continuing to make sustainable decisions as part of National Aquarium culture, we want to inspire others to follow our lead and take action at home!

What do YOU do at home to be green

Thoughtful Thursdays: A Greener Cleaner

During the last few months, the National Aquarium’s Fishes department has been transitioning all of its cleaning products to eco-friendly options.

Aquarist Beth Schneble said, “As a conservation organization, we feel strongly about the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures, and decided to do our part by not polluting the Chesapeake Bay watershed with chemicals. Because we want to promote the use of these products, we are sharing our choices with volunteers, tour groups, interns, and other staff members who might be considering changes for the sake of the environment. The green products are just as effective as the old ones, and they are helping to minimize the amount of chemicals rinsed down the drains daily.”

For general cleaning, they use white vinegar and microfiber cloths. Here’s a quick before-and-after snapshot of the other changes they made:

Before After
Blue Dawn dish detergent Green Works dish detergent; 97% natural, many ingredients derived from plants
Standard synthetic sponges Scotch Brite Greener Clean scrubs; 50% of the
scrubbing fibers are made from agave plants;
sponges are 100% plant-based fiber and 23%
recycled material
Ajax and Tide floor
cleaners
Damp mop; biodegradable and phosphate-free
floor cleaner
Windex Brillianize Plastic Cleaner (used for exhibit windows); alcohol free, ammonia free and contains no sodium
sulfate or ethylene glycol
Plastic spray bottles Recycled spray bottles made from plastic jugs. Staff
add a diluted mixture of detergent and water to
decrease the amount of soap needed to clean dishes.
The containers are reusable, and supplies last longer.

And if you’re interested in making a change at home, here’s a super-easy recipe for a DIY all-purpose cleaner, which is easier on both the environment AND your budget:

Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 1/2 gallon (2 liters) water. Pour into a spray bottle and store.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Celebrate Earth Day All Weekend

Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. At the Aquarium, our goal is to practice conservation every day of the year, but this weekend, in honor of Earth Day, we thought we’d do a little extra celebrating!

We have lots of fun activities lined up for Saturday and Sunday at our Baltimore venue, between 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Enjoy special animal encounters, repurpose recyclable materials into cool crafts, check out our eco-fair, and learn the tooth about sharks!

We’re also holding an e-cycle event, to send old or broken electronics to a second-life program, rather than to a landfill. Bring in your old cell phones, CDs and DVDs, and any other small electronics you’d like to dispose of, and we’ll give you a gift in return!

On Sunday, you’re invited to join Aquarium CEO John Racanelli and special guests Governor Martin O’Malley and Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake at 11 a.m. for a tree-planting ceremony, as we celebrate our new partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. The event will take place in the Aquarium’s Waterfront Park, just outside the main entrance on Pier 3. Meet Ranger Rick, sign a pledge to plant a tree, and take one home to plant and nurture. Also on Sunday, if you ride your bike to the Aquarium, you can get a free tune-up courtesy of Joe’s Bike Shop!

Greening the Aquarium

Last week, BMoreMedia, a new online magazine in Baltimore, came to the National Aquarium’s Baltimore venue to explore how we are implenting green practices throughout our building with our visitors, internally with our staff and business practices, and in the community.

Take a look at the video a the amazing video they produced, which is now posted on BMoreMedia.com:

Are you doing anything to green your business or home? Please share your green practices with us!


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