good works Mardi Gras sustainability

Where to recycle your Mardi Gras beads

Beads, a symbol of Carnival in New Orleans, have become emblematic of its environmental hazards. (Zach Brien,

If you went to even one parade this past Carnival season, you probably have a pile of beads in your house right now. Even if you didn’t, a bag of beads may be lurking in a closet or in the attic.

That means you’ve done your part to keep beads off the streets and out of the drainage system during the parades. Now is the time — unless you haven’t had enough of the glue gun and are planning an art project — to recycle the colorful strands that were so much fun to catch.

Most bead recycling in the region is through nonprofit organizations that provide jobs to disabled adults, who clean and sort the throws so they can be sold to float riders for the next season.

Primary among those is ArcGNO, which has partnered with the city for year-round bead recycling and provides temporary bins during parade season throughout the city, including one in Mid-City at Gulf Coast Bank & Trust, 201 N. Carrollton Ave.

New Orleans Sanitation Department accepts beads for ArcNOLA twice a month at the recycling drop-off center, 2829 Elysian Fields Ave. It is open every second and fourth Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The next drop-off date is March 14.

While you’re there, you can also recycle glass, televisions, computers and other electronic items, batteries, tires, and organic scraps for composting. See here for a detailed list of recyclables.

ArcGNO also accepts beads year-round at its Uptown Community Center, 1771 Nashville Ave.; the Whole Foods at 5600 Magazine St.; and at the Green Project, 2831 Marais St.

Other organizations that accept bead donations include St. Michael School, 1522 Chippewa St.,  504-522-8194, and Strive Inc., 1139 Napoleon Ave., 504-895-2557.

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