Mardi Gras is a spectacle, we all know that. But it was disturbing to so many people when we found out 93,000 pounds of beads were recovered from catch basins in only a five-block area of St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans in 2018, according to NOLA.com. And the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation cleaned up 92,000 pounds of trash from the lake shoreline recently in their annual beach cleanup drive. And the majority of that was Mardi Gras beads and throws. So we all hoped something would change, because these are clearly not good for the environment, and it's not just in New Orleans.

NOLA.com says the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Grounds Krewe wants to make Mardi Gras more sustainable. Part of their plan is to get trash picked up during the parades with the Trashformers Krewe. This walking krewe marches in the parade and collects recyclables along its route. Those are then turned into 'jute-packaged edible throws including coffee beans, jambalaya mix, and red beans'.  Which is something I would definitely like to catch!

Grounds Krewe also partnered up with Arc of Greater New Orleans to offer recycling along the parade route during several big parades, including Mid-City, Thoth, and Ponchartrain. They also have bead collection sites throughout the year, and the krewes of Rex, Centurions, and Excalibur will use recycled throws this year for Mardi Gras. Which is pretty amazing.

A  biodegradable bead made from microalgae is also in the works from Naohiro Kato, associate professor of the department of biological sciences at LSU, who says "We will produce 3,000 prototype Mardi Gras beads and provide them to krewe members for free through LSU.”  Interested krewes can contact him at kato@lsu.edu. In New Orleans, the Krewe of Freret will use the biodegradable beads in their 2021 parade. I don't know about you, but I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.