Recycling program returns to Uptown parade route for Mardi Gras 2019 | News coverage


Old-timers may remember the days when New Orleans used to judge the success of Mardi Gras by the amount of trash picked up off the streets.

Now we have a better metric. Last year, during just one parade, volunteers from the Young Leadership Council (YLC) and the Arc of Greater New Orleans (ArcGNO) collection 2,500 pounds of beads, 10,000 cans and 2,000 plastic bottles during just one day of parades during the 2018 Mardi Gras season.

That pilot program — YLC Recycles — will be expanded this year, according to the YLC, with volunteers with the Mardi Gras Recycling Initiative hitting the Uptown parade routes Feb. 23 and March 2 following the Krewe of Freret and Krewe of Tucks parades, respectively.

Volunteers in lime-green vests will be in the crowds distributing two kinds of bags: one for aluminum, paper and plastic recyclables, and another for unwanted beads. In addition, business owners along the parade route are asked to set up recycling stations at their businesses (contact 

On Feb. 16, during the Krewe du Vieux parade in the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter, YLC volunteers also will set up temporary receptacles along the route for paper, plastic and aluminum recyclables only (no beads).

Beads collected will be donated to ArcGNO for its ongoing program of recycling. Adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities sort and repackage beads for sale at the group’s store (925 Labarre Road, Metairie). 

As part of its services for people with intellectual disabilities, Arc of Greater New Orleans helps them learn to present themselves in job in…

“We are so excited to team up with ArcGNO once again for this year’s initiative,” said Rachel Skowyra, project leader for YLC Recycles. “The immense community support we received last year on the route was an inspiring reminder of what we can achieve when we work together.”

YLC is looking for 200 volunteers for the project, and can be contacted at

Follow Kevin Allman on Twitter: @kevinallman

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