Environment – The debauchery that is Fat Tuesday ended with thousands of party-goers flooding the streets of New Orleans, along with an estimated 25 million pounds of plastic beads, cups, and tokens. Instead of the items ending up in a landfill, a few companies worked towards making Mardi Gras a bit more eco-friendly.
Verdi Gras, an environmental group in New Orleans, partnered with Arc Enterprise to recycle the millions of beads handed out during parades. Last year they recycled over 100,000 pounds of beads that were turned in by the citizens of New Orleans, school bead drives, and through recycling bins set up outside of grocery stores.
This year Verdi Gras and Arc Enterprises joined together and created a float called “Catch and Release” that followed three parades and collected 1000 pounds of discarded goodies. Parade attendees even joined in on the movement by throwing back any extras that pile up on the sidewalks. Bins were also set up along a six-block stretch during the Krewe of Pontchartrain parade to encourage recycling.
Next year the groups plan to increase the Catch & Release trailers to cover all the parades.
Arc Enterprises sorts the beads in their facilities where they are re-sold to float riders for other festivities. These recycled beads are not just an answer to pollution, but also to the many workers overseas who cram out new beads each year under questionable working conditions.
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