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Local Experts Advise People To Reduce Plastic Use At Gasparilla

TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) - Local environmentalists are asking the public to be a little more cautious and aware of the products they use, especially as Gasparilla approaches.

Edgar Castro Tello works for the City of Tampa Recycling Program and says "It's very tempting and convenient to maybe toss it really quick while no one is looking, but when we have hundreds of thousands of people doing that every day, it really adds up."

He says every year during the two weeks surrounding Gasparilla, he sees large amounts of trash building up from the festivities.

"About 37 tons of waste all together, collective. And that's about 82,000 pounds. Which is enough to fill four school buses of all of that waste," said Tello.

He says beads are a huge issue, but so are other items.

"8.6 tons of it was litter," said Tello.

Because Gasparilla was cancelled last year, he expects a larger crowd than usual, meaning more trash.

"Single use plastics, like plastic cups and a lot of other single-use items like forks and straws," said Tello.

He says it takes a few days to clean up everything from Gasparilla, so this year, he's asking people to bring re-usable water bottles and eating utensils.

"Using a reusable water bottle is already a big impact you can make," said Tello.

ZooTampa is also making a change, reducing their plastic use, by replacing plastic cups with aluminum cups. Senior Director of Guest Engagement at ZooTampa, Cara Treadway, says she thinks people should take advantage of these non-plastic water bottles.

"Bring your own bags, if you want to collect all of those beads, you can use one of the recycling bags, you can bring reusable water bottles that are made of stainless steel or aluminum and that's going to keep your drink nice and cold all day," said Treadway.

As Gasparilla gets closer, the message from these environmentalists, is keep track of your belongings and trash.

"Its very easy to avoid those items making it out to the water. I think it's more of us making sure we take more ownership and responsibility of what we have," said Tello.

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