Fat Tuesday targets lean waste

February 15, 2021 |

In New Orleans, Fat Tuesday is getting a green makeover with biobased products aimed at reducing the massive amount of trash left behind. 

Otherwise known as Mardi Gras, the festival is a celebration of excess for Christians before the austerity of Lent begins. This excess has a hidden cost, however. In New Orleans, the city best known for over-the-top Mardi Gras celebrations, revelers left behind 7.2 million lbs of trash in storm drains along the parade route in 2018—nearly 1,000 lbs of which were plastic beads. 

Louisiana State University Pro Professor Naohiro Kato created biodegradable beads from algae in 2019, although they are not commercially available. But greenmatters.com offers a few alternatives in the meantime. Nonprofit Grounds Krewe, for example, offers jute bags filled with various edible beans that can be tossed instead of beads. It also sells biodegradable Seed Bead Necklaces made from red palm trees in Belize; Demeter Necklaces made from dyed acai beads; and handmade paper beads made by women in Uganda. 

Homemade burlap decorations or similar products bought from Etsy can also be substituted for plastic decorations, greenmatters.com suggests. 

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Category: Chemicals & Materials

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