Mystic Seaport Museum Launches Program to Eliminate Single-Use Plastic

The Museum is working toward eliminating single-use plastics on its 19-acre site on the Mystic River.
Museum staff members gather on the steps of the Thompson Exhibition Building to get out the "Say No to Plastics" message.
Museum staff members gather on the steps of the Thompson Exhibition Building to get out the “Say No to Plastics” message.

Mystic, Conn. (March 8, 2019) — Mystic Seaport Museum announced today an initiative to work toward eliminating single-use plastics on its 19-acre site on the Mystic River.

The program is being developed and implemented through the leadership of a staff Sustainability Committee in collaboration with the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Md. The teams at each museum share information, resources, ideas, and results of implementation efforts, and will be giving a joint presentation at the 2019 Council of American Maritime Museums Annual Conference in Manitowoc, Wis., this coming April.

“Both of our museums are situated on estuaries, which brings with it the responsibility to be stewards of the water and shoreline that provide so much for our institutions,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport Museum. “We recognize the gravity of our role in shedding light on the human impact on ocean health, and we believe in doing our part to help change that impact in a positive direction and to set a standard among maritime museums and surrounding communities.”

The Sustainability Committee at Mystic Seaport Museum began meeting in early 2018 at the direction of White, who encouraged the committee to make recommendations for financially sustainable, positive changes to the Museum’s impact on the environment that also will inspire and energize the public to adopt similar practices.

In conjunction with the Museum’s food-service partners Coastal Gourmet and Event Network, the following changes replacing single-use plastic products have been implemented:

  • Paper shopping bags instead of plastic
  • Nautical-themed reusable shopping bags made from 100-percent recycled plastic water bottles are available for purchase
  • Plant-based straws and pasta stir sticks
  • Plastic lids and straws are available upon request only
  • To-go containers and serving ware have been switched to paper rather than plastic or foam
  • Catered events are using wooden utensils, and plant-based cups, or rented china, glasses, and cutlery.

Moving forward, the Museum will continue to investigate ways to reduce single-use plastic consumption, while keeping in mind that alternatives used must be ecofriendly, and will focus on making changes across the Museum grounds to enable visitors to reduce plastic consumption and recycle more effectively.

About Mystic Seaport Museum

Mystic Seaport Museum, founded in 1929, is the nation’s leading maritime museum. In addition to providing a multitude of immersive experiences, the Museum also houses a collection of more than two million artifacts that include more than 500 historic vessels and one of the largest collections of maritime photography. The new Thompson Exhibition Building houses a state-of-the-art gallery that is showing Death in the Ice: The Mystery of the Franklin Expedition, a major exhibition of one of seafaring’s most mysterious tragedies through April 28, 2019. Mystic Seaport Museum is located one mile south of Exit 90 off I-95 in Mystic, Conn. For more information, please visit https://mysticseaport.wpengine.com/ and follow Mystic Seaport Museum on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.