TAMPA, Fla. — As we get ready for weeks of Gasparilla activities, we sometimes forget how lucky we are to have such beautiful waterways for parades and celebrations.
Waterways that are more than forgiving of how we can sometimes toss our trash aside without a second thought. But several cities, counties and organizations in the Tampa Bay region are working together to make you think twice and reduce your use.
ZooTampa at Lowry Park is just one of many businesses across the Tampa Bay area where you're seeing some changes in the way you're served drinks, food and some other things too. They've taken the pledge to reduce their use and they want you to do it too.
Daniel Gallagher works for Hillsborough County as a waste reduction specialist.
"Plastic water bottles, plastic straws, plastic forks, plastic bags. It's everywhere," he said. "One reusable water bottle can replace hundreds of plastic water bottles that you'd use in a year and think of the money you just saved instead of buying all those plastic water bottles."
That's why ZooTampa got involved and took the pledge along with many other places you likely visit, like Amalie Arena, Busch Gardens and the Florida Aquarium.
"Here at the zoo, we want to prioritize reducing our use of plastics so that we can be a role model for our visitors and then demonstrate ways that we're reducing our plastics use and then showing them they can do it on their own to help protect all these amazing species that live here," Arinn Bolin with ZooTampa explained.
One of the big messages they want to get across — every small change can make a difference.
"We have a lot of responsibility as consumers. The more people that value reducing waste and reusables over those single-use products, then we send a message to bigger organizations that we want to see the change in them as well." Gallagher agrees.
"Collectively we can make a huge difference and we can develop this culture change that when people hear Tampa Bay, they think green, they think sustainability. They come to us for leadership."
Anyone can be a part of this movement. All you have to do is click here to read more about Reduce Your Use Tampa Bay and take the pledge.