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Mardi is a monumental event for New Orleans. It requires months and even up to a year of preparation before the season takes place. Although the 2019 Mardi Gras season has ended, Krewes are already planning next year’s theme, costumes are being designed, and out-of-towners are booking their hotels before the price skyrockets. However, just as it requires months and months of preparation to begin the Mardi Gras season, it also takes quite a while to clean up the aftermath.

The Other Side of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is definitely the time to let her your hair down, or as we New Orleanians would say, “Laissez Les Bon Temp Rouler!” However, after the good times have rolled, the ugly truth still remains. Mardi Gras generates a great deal of trash and waste; much of which ends up in our sewer systems. After the flood of August 2017, we got a first-hand look at what kind of damage our Mardi Gras celebration does to our beloved city. It was definitely a sight to see 46 tons of beads being pulled out of our clogged sewers.

Locals Taking Action

Compelled to take action, several local businesses around New Orleans have joined forces with ARC of Greater New Orleans as well as with the Young Leadership Council. Together they’ve created a huge recycling initiative by collecting beads and throws to be redistributed during next years Mardi Gras season. During the final weeks of Mardi Gras, ARC was able to collect 124,000 beads and throws from the streets and also from their annual bead drive at Krispy Kreme. Based on their current success, ARC estimates that they will be able to collect up to 124 tons of beads by the end of the year.

Did You Know?

In addition to beads and throws, each year the Mardi Gras season generates approximately 900 tons of garbage. To address this issue, ARC along with the Young Leadership Council has issued out 130 collection bins at 70 locations around the city. These bins are meant to collect the beads, throws, and garbage that would otherwise end up in a landfill.

The Right Direction

The Charles House condominium building is one of the locations where the collection bins have been placed. According to a resident in the building, the 90-gallon bins placed outside were filled in just a few short days. It’s definitely a giant step in the right direction of making Mardi Gras Green.