At Shedd, we have a special relationship with the creatures inhabiting the Earth’s waters. Even the smallest amount of mercury can be deadly to fish – and anything that eats them. In 1996, we took a first step in eliminating mercury through a lighting retrofit. By changing the kind of fluorescent tube lights that we use, we eliminated more than 61 grams of mercury, or the equivalent of 87 thermometers’ worth of the toxic substance, buildingwide. The current tubes that we use, although ecofriendly, still contain trace amounts of mercury, so we dispose of burned-out lights through a company that recycles them within our specifications. Since 2002, we’ve prevented a further 11 thermometers’ worth of mercury from contaminating a landfill or as much as 16 acres of water.
I grew up in a small town and used to walk to a pond to go fishing. I just caught little sunfish and bluegills, but for a kid, it was a thrill. Wouldn’t it be a shame if kids today were deprived of this childhood ritual because the water or the aquatic life in their local pond was contaminated? By recycling these fluorescent tubes – and getting others around me to participate as well – I feel that I’m looking out for the future of our environment and for the future of those kids, wherever they may go fishing!
Posted by Susan Barton, facilities