Composting and recycling

The Seattle Aquarium currently diverts about 70 percent of our solid waste into composting and recycling (approximately 54 tons of compost and 22 tons of recycling per year).

Solar hot water

On the south-facing wall of the Aquarium’s Pier 59 are five glass solar panels which absorb the sun's energy to preheat water used by our café. This lowers the amount of natural gas needed by the café, reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2.5 tons annually. This collaborative project is made possible with funding and support from Seattle City Light and Puget Sound Energy, both recognized as national leaders in energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.

Energy efficiency upgrades

The Aquarium has completed an investment-grade audit of its energy and water systems and anticipates upgrades that will result in thousands of dollars of savings per year in energy and water costs, including LED lighting, advanced utility control systems, new windows and insulation, water efficiency strategies, and others.  Click here for a video of some recent efforts, made in partnership with MacDonald-Miller.

Ackerley Foundation Puget Sound Hall

Many sustainability practices were incorporated in the construction of the Aquarium’s Puget Sound Hall and café, including the use of cold saltwater for cooling, natural ventilation/lighting, use of recycled materials, sustainable forestry timbers, and water conservation measures.

Seattle Aquarium café/catering

Sodexo, our café/catering partner, has been recognized year after year by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes as a global leader in sustainability performance. The café composts all organic materials, cutting trash by over 75 percent since November of 2010. Grease/waste oils are also utilized for reuse.

Seattle Aquarium gift shop

Even before Seattle’s plastic bag ban took effect, our gift shop eliminated them—and now sells thousands of the popular reusable “UseLess” bags to visitors. Learn more about how you can reduce plastics in the ocean with these six easy steps (see infographic).

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

The Seattle Aquarium Green Team includes LEED professionals with national standing and membership with the Association of Zoos & Aquarium’s Green Scientific Advisory Group.


The Aquarium has been awarded five stars, the highest rating, from the King County EnviroStars program for superior management of toxic wastes.

Green Awards

We were honored to receive two awards for excellence in sustainable operations in 2014: the “Visionary Leadership Award” from the Seattle 2030 District; and the “Community Impact Award” from Seattle Business magazine.

Partnership with Green Marine

Green Marine is an environmental certification program for the North American marine industry.