FOLEY - During the 2019 Mardi Gras season, Krewe de Kaoz members Renea Ammons and Sandy Adams asked, “what happens to Mardi Gras beads that aren’t caught and are left uncollected in the street? What happens to the beads when someone catches too many to store and decides to throw them out? Where do they end up?”
Ammons found the answer in the midst of the 2019 parade season, while fishing with her husband on Canal Road in Gulf Shores.
“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,” she said. “I knew this was not good.”
Together with Adams, the two krewe members formed a recycling program initiative in our area to collect and reuse unwanted Mardi Gras beads. Adams has also been involved with parades in New Orleans, where she states the city faces issues cleaning out drainage systems due to clogged beads. To prevent such occurrences in Baldwin County, recycling bins were designed strictly to collect Mardi Gras throws.
The recycling program for 2020 will begin on Feb. 17 and run until March 8. Recycling bin locations include: Rouse’s in Gulf Shores, Rouse’s in Orange Beach, Checkouts in Foley, Publix in Fairhope, and Avizo Group (located at 112 West Section Avenue, Foley, across from the former location of The Old Armory Antique Mall.) In addition, recycling bins will be placed in various spots along the Foley parade route on Feb. 22, when the parade rolls at 11 a.m. These bins will only be in location on parade day, and are for anyone who wishes to recycle unwanted catches that day.
“Krewe de Kaoz members collect the items from the bins, and we will clean, sort, and bundle the throws to be recycled for the upcoming year,” Ammons said.
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.”
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.