updated February 29, 2020

For parade goers and revelers alike, the Nola Family Mardi Gras Recycling Guide includes a list of drop-off spots to donate Mardi Gras throws, krewes and organizations with eco-friendly initiatives, and retail locations that sell sustainable throws to offset the 25 million pounds of toxic plastic beads imported annually.

MARDI GRAS THROWS DROP-OFF LOCATIONS
These locations accept your Mardi Gras throws, including Donate Your Weight contest donations, to be recycled back to the krewe members.

ArcGNO's recycling center.

Arc of Greater New Orleans
New Orleans
ArcGNO Uptown Community Center
1771 Nashville Ave.
Whole Foods
5600 Magazine St.
The Green Project
2831 Marais St.
The Occasional Wife
8237 Earhart Blvd.
Orleans Trash Drop
2828 Elysian Fields
Metairie
ArcGNO Metairie Community Center
925 Labarre Rd.
Jefferson Parish Trash Drop
400 David Dr.
Rouses
2701 Airline Dr.
Westbank
Jefferson Parish Trash Drop
6440 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero
St. Bernard Parish
ArcGNO Chalmette Community Center
3700 Jean Lafitte Pkwy.
Northshore
ArcGNO Northshore Community Center
106 E. 25th Ave., Covington

Additional ArcGNO Carnival Season Collection Sites:
Metairie
East Bank Regional Library      
                 
4747 W Napoleon Ave.
Gulf Coast Bank                        
1825 Veterans
Jefferson Financial                        
7701 Airline Drive
Jefferson Financial                        
3900 Veterans Blvd.
Jefferson Financial                        
5249 Veterans Blvd.
Jefferson Financial Lending Center            
4141 Veterans Blvd.
New Orleans (Eastbank)
Aloft New Orleans                                   
225 Baronne
Alvar Library                                                
913 Alvar
Audubon Zoo                                                
6500 Magazine St.  
Avenue Plaza Resort                                   
2111 St. Charles
Avenue Pub                                                
1732 St. Charles Ave.
Best Western Plus St. Charles Inn           
3636 St. Charles Ave.
Children’s Resource Center                       
913 Napoleon Ave.            
City Hall                                                
1300 Perdido St.
Dirty Coast                                                
5631 Magazine St.
Drury Plaza                                                
820 Poydras St.
Gallier Hall                                                
545 St Charles Ave.
Gulf Coast Bank                                    
201 N Carrollton Ave.
Gulf Coast Bank                                    
848 Harrison Ave.
HI New Orleans                                   
1028 Canal St.            
Hilton New Orleans Riverside                        
2 Poydras Street
Latter Library                                                
5120 St. Charles Ave.
Maison De Cheveux                                    
718 Common
New Orleans & Company                     
2020 St. Charles Ave.
Nest NOLA                                                
5422 Magazine St.
NOPSI Hotel                                                
935 Gravier Street
Omni Riverfront                                    
701 Convention Center Blvd.
Reginelli's Uptown                                    
5961 Magazine St.
Rock N Bowl                                                
3016 S. Carrollton
Robert E. Smith Library                                   
6301 Canal Blvd.
Renaissance New Orleans Arts Hotel            
700 Tchoupitoulas St.
Rosa Keller Library                                    
4300 S. Broad
Rouses Downtown (back parking lot)           
701 Baronne Street
Sheraton Hotel                                               
500 Canal Street
Tulane University                                   
1515 Poydras #964
Urban South                                                
1645 Tchoupitoulas St.
Windsor Court                                                
300 Gravier
New Orleans East
Audubon Nature Center                       
11000 Lake Forest Blvd.
NOLA East Library                                    
5641 Read Blvd.
New Orleans (Westbank - Jefferson & Orleans)
Algiers Regional Library            
3014 Holiday Dr.
Hubbell Library                        
725 Pelican Ave.
Jefferson Financial                       
1520 Westbank Expressway, Harvey
Jefferson Financial                       
5036 Lapalco Blvd., Marrero
Jefferson Financial                       
111 Wall Blvd., Gretna
West Bank Regional Library                        
2751 Manhattan Blvd, Harvey

St. Michael’s School
The Joy Activity Center
1522 Chippewa St.

STARC of Louisiana
Northshore
Adult East
40201 Hwy 190 East, Slidell 
Adult West 
1705 Viola Street, Mandeville

Additional STARC Carnival Season Collection Sites:
Northshore
St. Tammany Parish Fire Protection District #2      
                 
424 Highway 22 West, Madisonville

Note: Locations subject to change. Confirm with each location to verify drop-off times.


ORGANIZATIONS WITH ECO-FRIENDLY INITIATIVES

Perhaps the largest recycler of Mardi Gras beads in the area, ArcGNO serves about 250 adults with intellectual disabilities in the Greater New Orleans region. Part of their programming is creating wage-earning jobs by collecting, sorting, and repackaging Mardi Gras throws for its retail store. Krewes can purchase these previously-used throws for their parades.

Similarly to ArcGNO, St. Michael's Special School accepts donations of Mardi Gras throws to sell back to krewes. The school serves students with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the store at its Joy Activity Center focuses on programming for students (up to 22 years old) who have graduated.

During certain Uptown weekend day parades this year, Grounds Krewe, a sustainable-focused nonprofit, will be passing out free throws and disposable waste recycling bags. All you have to do is catch the throws, fill the bag, and leave them on the curb. Volunteers following the parade will pick them up to be donated to ArcGNO.

On February 8, you can catch the Trashformers marching krewe immediately following KreweDelusion. Dressed in eco-pun costumes, the Trashformers collect rather than throw. They’ll pass by to take parade goers' recyclable waste (cans and plastic bottles).

In the past, The Young Leadership Council has partnered with ArcGNO to collect beads for its recycling program, but its focus has shifted to education on recycling during festival season and working with krewes and their sustainability efforts on the floats for 2020. However, YLC volunteers will be collecting recyclables during Krewe du Vieux.

The beloved, all-women Krewe of Muses applies reused glitter and embellishments to decorate their coveted shoes, which are also usually recycled. Muses also encourages its members to buy more specialty items over packs of beads that people would want to hold onto instead of throwing out.

One of the oldest parades, Rex is going partly green in 2020 by using some recycled Mardi Gras throws for its members. Rex is one of three Carnival organizations officially partnering with ArcGNO to utilize its Mardi Gras Recycle Center.

Krewe of Centurions and Krewe of Excalibur, respectively, have also partnered with ArcGNO for their supplier of recycled beads from Mardi Gras past. Excalibur is also offering its krewe members a special package that combines recycled beads and other throws such as novelty light-up items.

VerdiGras.com hopes to one day place recycling trucks at the end of every parade, but has yet to find sponsorship. It’s too late for 2020, but Patty, owner of VerdiGras, asks that krewe captains who are interested contact her at 504.920.6625.

The City of New Orleans is in on the action this year, too. Nola.com reports that in addition to making Mardi Gras safer, new regulations that were approved in December hope to make Mardi Gras cleaner. A familiar sight for paradegoers, especially of larger parades, are the heaps of plastic bags left over along the route. Among the new proposed regulations is a rule that would ban the discarding of plastic bags off of floats during parades. The regulation also includes forbidding riders from bombarding paradegoers with bagged beads. The regulations have not been approved, but they are set to be discussed during a city council meeting scheduled for January 30.


SUSTAINABLE THROWS
Local retail locations and other merchants that sell eco-friendly throws to krewe members.

From toothbrushes to colored pencils, Grounds Krewe offers a selection of consumable throws made to be biodegradable and recyclable. The selection also includes items that promote Louisiana culture, like 4-ounce mini-packets of jambalaya, red beans, and ground coffee packaged in biodegradable jute baggies.

Each one of Bayou Throws’ handmade creations is made of 100 percent recyclable plastic beads (virgin polystyrene) that can be taken apart and reused. They accept bulk orders and can customize to match any theme or krewe color scheme.

While Atlas Homemade Beads’ are still imported, they’re not the plastic bulk kind from China. Instead, each necklace is crafted out of recycled magazine pages by a women’s art collective in Uganda. This means that each strand is unique. Locals wouldn’t normally wear the standard metallic Mardi Gras beads to the office or a night out, but Atlas’ creations are worthy of staff meeting or a date night.

Do you know other bead donation sites, krewes and organizations with eco-friendly initiatives, or venues with sustainable throws? We’d love to list them too. Contact Nola Family managing editor Tim Meyer, [email protected].


For more information on the environmental impact of Mardi Gras, and the toxicity of imported plastic beads, read our Bead Aware feature from last year.

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