Moving Mardi Gras forward: What’s new in sustainability and innovation

 

Recycle Dat! – A Mardi Gras recycling project

Fun Fact: Going back decades, the city would determine whether the Carnival season was successful or not based on the amount of trash collected along the parade route. The practice ended in 2003 when Mayor C. Ray Nagin and his administration made the decision to stop using trash as the barometer of success.

 

In 2019 alone, Mardi Gras produced over 1,300 tons or 2.6 million pounds of street waste, that is only what was left on the street. Unfortunately, none of that was recycled. In 2022, 1,150 tons of Mardi Gras trash or 2.5 million pounds were transported to the landfill in just 11 days.

 

This Carnival season, New Orleans & Company is partnering with ArcGNO, the City of New Orleans, NOLA Ready, Grounds Krewe, Can Manufacturer’s Institute (CMI) and other non-profits dedicated to resilience and sustainability to expand upon previous Carnival recycling efforts with the new Recycle Dat! initiative. Led by the Office of Mayor LaToya Cantrell, the goal is to increase awareness of the recycling of aluminum cans, glass, and beads at hub locations along the St. Charles Avenue parade route as well as other locations around the city.

The four hub recycling locations along the St. Charles Avenue parade route include Gallier Hall, the New Orleans & Company building, Greater New Orleans Foundation Center for Philanthropy, and Academy of the Sacred Heart. In addition to the four hub locations, there will also be ten can recycling stations between Napoleon Avenue and Louisiana Avenue. The hub and can recycling locations will be available during the weekend day parades starting at 10 am and ending around 4 pm on February 18-19.

The New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center will also collect beads and cans from Mardi Gras ball attendees. ArcGNO and Grounds Krewe will continue the practice of passing out free throw donation “crawfish sacks” which they have done for the past five Carnival seasons.

“While Mardi Gras is wonderful time for people to gather with family and friends, it’s important to note the impact of waste left behind after the parades have rolled,” Kevin Ferguson, New Orleans & Company Vice President of External Affairs. “If you find yourself on the Uptown parade route this Mardi Gras season, be on the lookout for our hub recycling locations and be sure to recycle your aluminum cans and beads.”

All aluminum beverage cans recycled at the hub locations along the Uptown parade route will be collected by EMR Metal Recycling, who will pay market rate for the used beverage cans. The revenue generated through the collection will then be given to three local charities – The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity. CMI, which represents the US metal can manufacturers and suppliers, will be doubling the money raised to $5,000.

In addition to the cans collected at the hub locations along the route, there will also be nine drop off sites in the Greater New Orleans area for residents to drop off beads. Drop-off sites include locations in Orleans and Jefferson Parishes as well as the Northshore and Chalmette. Residents are also encouraged to bring their empty beverage cans to the EMR Metal Recycling Mid-City location at 2525 Lafitte Street. CMI is also doubling the market rate paid for the used beverage cans at this location from February 10 to 25, up to $5,000. The overall goal is to collect 500,000 used beverage cans, which is the equivalent of $10,000 worth of beverage cans.

For information about Recycle Dat visit ready.nola.gov/mardi-gras/recycling/.

 

Eco-friendly throws help the environment and provide jobs
Grounds Krewe, the non-profit started by Brett Davis in 2019, continues to be at the forefront of Mardi Gras sustainability innovation by designing, assembling and selling affordable, eco-friendly parade throws meant to displace imported, disposable, plastic offerings often left in the streets. Most of the throws are Louisiana products and engage local disadvantaged labor forces, and thousands of volunteers, to help produce them.

Since its inception in 2020, over 255,000 throws have been sold through the Sustainable Throw Catalog. There has been over 600 hours of paid labor to disadvantaged community members to assemble the throws with over 1,250 volunteers assisting.

In 2023, Grounds Krewe will be supplying sustainable throw packages to five parading Krewes including Krewe of Iris, Krewe of Themis, Krewe of Alla, Krewe of Pygmalion and Krewe of Excalibur.    

 

Digital Doubloons from the Nieux Society
The Nieux Society was founded in May 2022 by some of city’ creative, business and professional leaders to help bring Web3 to the city of New Orleans. The group, spearheaded by Tim Williamson announced a Mardi Gras NFT in December 2022. The 5,000 verified, unique pieces of art were created using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and is the largest AI driven art collection created. Passholders of the limited edition NFTs are given access to the Nieux Society building on St. Charles Avenue as well as series of talks that started on Twelfth Night and run through Mardi Gras Day. The goal is to spark conversations on innovation and blend New Orleans culture with Web3.

Williamson described the program as a two-month experience into what’s next in New Orleans. “The Nieux Society is about connecting with each other, the city and new Web3 technology,” said Tim Williamson, Co-Founder of The Nieux Society. “The Mardi Gras NFT is more than access to a party. It opens the door to participate in a new era of creativity and innovation in the New Orleans community while experiencing the unique culture.”

The Nieux Society has plans to create more NFTs expanding the Web3 footprint in the city. To learn more information about The Nieux Society, visit www.nieux.xyz.