As Mardi Gras comes to a close, revelers may start to wonder what to do with all of their Mardi Gras beads. While beads are always fun to catch, ask any New Orleanian with bags full of Mardi Gras beads sitting in their attic how much use they get out of them once the parades are over. Many people end up throwing the beads away, but the millions of beads thrown away each year end up in landfills or litter the streets of New Orleans.
Luckily, you have plenty of other options for how to dispose of your Mardi Gras beads besides dumping them in the trash. Here are four ways to recycle beads you can try so you can end this Carnival season on a high note.
Find a Bead Recycling Bin
Bead recycling bins are becoming more and more popular each year, and they’re often placed on or in the neighborhoods around the parade routes for immediate dumping when the parades have passed. But some New Orleans stores and other institutions keep Mardi Gras bead recycling bins out seasonally or year round so you can properly dispose of them at any time.
Arc of Greater New Orleans is one organization that provides recycling bins around the city, so check their website for locations. The organization also accepts bead donations directly, and it’s all for a great cause—supporting children with mental and developmental disabilities.
Give Them to a Krewe Member
Know someone in a Mardi Gras krewe? Anybody who’s ever been in a Mardi Gras parade can tell you how expensive it is to buy throws each year, so it’s likely any krewe member would love you for your generous donation to next year’s stash of throws.
If you’re a crafty person or know someone who is, Mardi Gras beads make an excellent medium for assorted projects. Since beads come in all shapes and sizes, they’re especially versatile for mosaics or even costumes (like bead skirts and headdresses).
Don’t let your Mardi Gras bead collection end up in a landfill! Use any of these four bead recycling methods to rid yourself of the unending plastic while feeling good about your decision.
The dedicated and friendly staff of Hotel St. Marie will ensure you experience all of the best of New Orleans' many sights, sounds, and tastes.
The French Market Inn, New Orleans, La., is tucked away on the banks of the Mississippi River in the center of the French Quarter.