Krewe de Kaoz members starting Mardi Gras throws recycling project

By Jessica Vaughn
Posted 3/27/19

FOLEY - Ever wonder what happens to the uncaught and uncollected beads after the Mardi Gras season has winded down? Some end up in the back of closets, forgotten about until they’re eventually …

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Krewe de Kaoz members starting Mardi Gras throws recycling project

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FOLEY - Ever wonder what happens to the uncaught and uncollected beads after the Mardi Gras season has winded down? Some end up in the back of closets, forgotten about until they’re eventually thrown out. Some are discarded immediately after the season ends. But what happens to them after that?

“A few weeks ago my husband and I were fishing on a Sunday afternoon on Canal Road in Gulf Shores,” said Krewe de Kaoz member Renea Ammons. “I was reeling my line in to check my bait. My bait was gone, and I didn’t have a fish, but I did have a beautiful string of shiny gold Mardi Gras beads hanging on my hook. I knew this was not good.”

Ammons began forming an idea to initiate a recycling project for Mardi Gras throws in our area. She took the idea to Sandy Adams, another member of Krewe de Kaoz, who has been involved with not only Mardi Gras parades in Baldwin County but with New Orleans parades as well.

“In New Orleans they’re having a hard time trying to clean out their drainage systems due to Mardi Gras beads,” said Adams. “They’re having issues with beads clogging their drainage systems and a ton of these non-biodegradable beads just end up in landfills. We don’t want to be facing or causing any of those problems here in our area.”

After discussing the issue, Ammons and Adams set out to find a solution. Together, they came up with a plan to place recycling bins strictly for Mardi Gras throws in as many locations throughout the area as possible. Foley’s Krewe de Kaoz will collect the donated throws from the bins and recycle them for use during the next Mardi Gras season, lessening the number of beads being thrown into the environment.

“We will clean, sort, and bundle the throws and recycle them for another parade,” said Ammons. “Next year we would like to bring back float walkers, who walk alongside the larger floats during the parade as an additional safety measure. We want to do everything possible to make sure all those awesome kids we love throwing stuff to do not get too excited and dangerously close to the rolling floats. So we will use the donated goods to provide our wonderful volunteers with some goodies to throw also.”

Krewe de Kaoz makes no money off of the parade they provide, neither from those in attendance nor the krewe members. The members put on the parade with funds from their own pockets, and no membership fee is required in order to join the fun.

“We’re just a group of people who come together, get on a float, get out there and have fun, it doesn’t cost our krewe anything to participate,” Ammons said. “We’ve been having fun in the krewe for years, but now we’re looking to become more involved with the community, and we’d like to start by helping to recycle the throws and promote the reuse of Mardi Gras beads.”

Currently, drop-off bin locations for anyone who would like to donate Mardi Gras throws are:

L.A. Pawn & Auto - Hwy 59 in Foley

Southern Wildlife Taxidermy - corner of 59 & 12 in Foley

Piggly Wiggly in Foley

Rouse’s in Gulf Shores

The krewe is working to get more business participation. If any business is interested in having a bin for Mardi Gras donations placed at their location, contact the Krewe de Kaoz on their Facebook page. Updated location lists will be published as they come available.