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Mardi Gras Is Getting Greener as New Biodegradable Beads Emerge


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From September 2017 until January 2018, a crew worked on cleaning clogged storm drains along St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. As The Times-Picayune reported, the massive cleanup recovered a whopping 93,000 pounds of plastic Mardi Gras beads, accumulated from years of festive Fat Tuesdays. But as more people become concerned about plastic's effect on the environment, plastic-free alternatives to the festive beads (also known as throws) are emerging. Most recently, a scientist developed a biodegradable version of the traditional beads, made from algae. 

Naohiro Kato, a Plant Cell Biologist and professor at Louisiana State University, spoke with Forbes about his inspiration for the algae-based beads. “I have family and friends who live in New Orleans and have been seeking to make the Mardi Gras celebration environmentally friendly,” Kato told Forbes. “When I was invited to their Mardi Gras parade party, I met with a bunch of people who were concerned about the negative impact of Mardi Gras beads on the environment.”