July 30, 2013

Mardi Gras is an important cultural expression here in New Orleans, and yet it comes at a terrible cost to our environment. The success of Mardi Gras is actually measured in pounds of waste. Much of that waste is the plastic beads and trinkets thrown in the parades.

ZomBeads: Mardi Gras Made in New Orleans is a new green company incubated at the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, a nonprofit organization directed by ELP Senior Fellow Anne Rolfes. On this page are prototypes (a bracelet and key chain – the high heeled shoe is the trademark of one of the Mardi Gras clubs) of our throws. These were made locally from recycled material instead of harmful plastic. We love Mardi Gras, but we know we can make it better.

ZomBeads is intended to be a revenue stream for the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. It is also intended to fundamentally change Mardi Gras. ELP Senior Fellow Sabrina McCormick will document this evolution through her evidence based media approach.

New Orleans based Beads by the Dozen imports about 200, 40‐foot‐long steel containers of beads a year from China. These millions of trinkets are made with petrochemicals, and many are simply thrown away once Mardi Gras is over. Sourcing our trinkets from used materials will, in the long run, reduce this demand.

Mardi Gras presents a tremendous opportunity to create local jobs while solving an environmental challenge. Its high profile makes the teachable moment that much bigger. We are confident in our ability to succeed and make great strides with support from ELP.

Please join us for this webinar to learn more about the project and its potential for local impact.