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Aquarium switches to boxed water

Boxed water comes in recyclable containers with an added bonus that it is easer to transport because of its shape. Courtesy photo

The Texas State Aquarium has done away with single-use plastic water bottles. The aquarium officially made the switch to Boxed Water is Better, a sustainable and environmentally conscious brand, on Earth Day, April 22.

Boxed water can be found throughout the facility, in the gift shop and at aquarium events. The aquarium has also installed special water fountains that allow visitors to refill their own reusable bottles from home.

Ultimately, the aquarium wishes to teach visitors a lesson with the switch: to take a pass on plastic.

“One of the biggest problems with bottled water is the bottle cap,” explained Leslie Peart, vice president of education and conservation for the Texas State Aquarium. “It’s easier to lose, and those caps are deadly to wildlife. In a dolphin’s belly, it could cause an obstruction.”

The decision was made after an education manager, who had transferred from an aquarium in California that used boxed water, approached the director of food services about making the switch. Once the aquarium staff agreed to do away with plastic bottles, the switch was easy: Boxed Water is Better partners with PepsiCo, which already supplies the aquarium with drinks.

“It wasn’t as easy financially,” Peart said, “but that’s a secondary concern. Education on the harmful effects of marine debris is our priority.”

The aquarium is also focusing on educating guests on the simple steps they can take at home to reduce marine debris such as switching to reusable shopping bags and bottles, packing trash-free lunches and good fishing practices.

Richard Glover, the aquarium’s chief marketing officer, explained that education starts at the facility, and they need to set an example. The aquarium is making strides to become a completely green facility. The switch to boxed water is only a small part; the aquarium no longer hands out pamphlets in an effort to reduce paper waste and has done away with plastic bags.

“Little things like that make a big difference,” Glover said. “If we’re not doing those things at the aquarium, how can we expect visitors to do those things at home?”

The Texas State Aquarium is located at 2710 North Shoreline Blvd. on North Beach. Visit for information on memberships, hours and special programs.

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