We Love Being Green

The Aquarium is committed to educating the public about the marine environment and inspiring conservation of wildlife and wild places. Our Green Team promotes environmentally responsible and sustainable operations, and awareness in the community about green resources and practices, in support of the Aquarium's conservation mission. The Aquarium was named the first "Virginia Green" Attraction in the state in 2008. Since that time, our E-Cycling and Composting Programs have received Virginia Green Travel Stars Awards and the Aquarium was named the Virginia Green Attraction of the Year for 2013.

Green Practices Overview:

  1. Recycling and Re-use
    1. Recycling receptacles in all personal work spaces
    2. Recycling receptacles available to guests inside Aquarium
      1. Movie theater
      2. Food service areas
      3. General areas
      4. Special events, including facility rentals
    3. Recycling instituted on many Aquarium boat trips
    4. Highly visible signage/messaging promoting recycling and bins
      1. Sandy Recycles campaign
        1. large decals on bins
        2. large window decals for entry areas of both buildings and for food service areas
      2. Movie theater message slides
      3. Movie theater audio messages
      4. Video or other message at admissions
      5. No plastic bags in store
      6. Re-usable bags and paper bags available in stores
    5. Promotion in newsletters
    6. Products being recycled/re-used
      1. Aluminum cans
      2. Glass
      3. Steel cans
      4. Plastic bottles
      5. Bottle caps
      6. Office paper
      7. Newspaper
      8. Cardboard
      9. Candy wrappers and chip bags
      10. Packing supplies, including peanuts
      11. Re-use gift boxes
      12. Toner cartridges
      13. Cooking grease
      14. Batteries
      15. Electronics equipment
      16. Building materials
  1. Waste Reduction
    1. Tracking waste bills and quantities
    2. Effectively use cups to promote/allow minimal waste and recycling
    3. Sodexo – green food service and catering provider
      1. Food inventory control to minimize wastes
      2. Locally grown produce and other foods
      3. Filtering/recycling of cooking grease and oil
      4. Organic and "sustainably-grown or harvested" foods
      5. Bio-compostable table-ware, cups and straws
      6. Non-bleached napkins and coffee filters
      7. Promotion of "green event" facility rentals
      8. Provide zero waste-to-landfill event options
    4. Composting program
      1. EPA funded pilot study started the program
      2. Aquarium Café working with other VB restaurants
      3. Composting all back-of-house operational wastes
    5. Office waste reduction
      1. 2-sided copies
      2. Electronic correspondence and forms replacing paper
      3. 100% post consumer recycled content in office paper
    6. Using "green" housekeeping practices
      1. Green cleaning supplies
        1. Star Spray glass cleaner
        2. Ram cleaner and de-greaser
        3. Automated dispensing system saves water and time
      2. Recycled content paper towels and toilet paper
    7. Purchase of durable equipment and furniture
    8. Preferred use of latex or low VOC paint
    9. Preferred use of less toxic materials
    10. Preferred use of building materials from sustainable sources
    11. Preventative maintenance of all vehicles and equipment
  1. Water
    1. Tracking overall water usage and wastewater
    2. Preventative maintenance of drips and leaks
    3. Water flow metering to discover leaks and areas of high use
    4. Low flow toilets
    5. Effective landscape management plan which utilizes drought tolerant species and other techniques
    6. Cisterns and drip-line irrigation
    7. Rain barrels
    8. Effective storm water management
    9. Vegetative buffers around streams and ponds
  1. Energy
    1. Tracking overall energy bills
    2. High efficiency HVAC
    3. Use of natural lighting
    4. Lighting sensors
    5. High efficiency fluorescent ballasts and lamps
    6. Purchase of EnergyStar computers, appliances, etc.
    7. Energy audit of all facilities (completed in 2010)
    8. Forming in-house Energy Conservation Team (2014)
  1. Activities
    1. Golf Tournaments (Aquarium Golf Classic, Clubbin' with the Ladies)
      1. Re-usable grocery bags for goody bags
      2. Recycling bins for beverage containers
    2. Environmental Actions and Education
      1. "Trash Bash" annual public awareness event
      2. Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge beach clean-ups
      3. Fishermen Island beach clean-ups
      4. Clean the Bay Day
      5. International Coastal Cleanup
      6. Owls Creek "Adopt-A-Waterway" Program
      7. Dune Restoration Project with National Aquarium in Baltimore and U.S. Navy
      8. "Carbon Rally" Aquarium Team
      9. "Carbon Offset" programs often associated with hosted meetings
      10. Sensible Seafood Fest: A Celebration of Sustainable Foods
      11. The Aquarium is a flagship co-sponsor of NuRide, which encourages the use of alternative transportation
      12. The Aquarium is a flagship co-sponsor of RecyclePerks.com, which encourages curbside recycling in Virginia Beach
      13. The Aquarium co-sponsored Virginia Beach's first Environmental Stewardship awards for community groups and developers who have made significant impact in protecting the local environment
    3. E-Cycling Events
      1. Partner with Goodwill and TFC Recycling
      2. Annual events initiated in 2009 (twice per year)
      3. Have recycled nearly 200 tons of electronic waste
    4. Outreach Programs
      1. Stranding Response Outreach Team
      2. Trash Talking Turtles marine debris education program
      3. Boat Safely ~ Respect Wildlife Program
      4. Sensible Seafood Program