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The Path Of A Bead

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Pictured here is a tarball leftover from the BP oil spill – notice the similarities to the degrading plastic beads!

The Path Of A Bead

From The Earth's Crust To The Parade Route

While many people think plastic beads are ubiquitous with Mardi Gras, they didn’t actually become a tradition until the 1970s, over 100 years after the first Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans!

From oil extracted from deep inside the Earth’s crust to the parade route, the path of a Mardi Gras bead is long and destructive, both to our environment and our health!

The Path Of A Bead

The Journey Begins In The Earth's Crust

Like all petroleum based plastic, the journey for most Mardi Gras beads begins with oil from the Gulf of Mexico, the Middle East, and elsewhere around the globe.

 

The Path Of A Bead

Refined & Processed from Oil To Plastic Pellets

After the oil is extracted from the Earth, it is processed into Polystyrene & Polyethylene pellets, which are the raw materials used in many plastic-based products

Once the pellets are formed, they are packaged and shipped to China, where the vast majority of all Mardi Gras beads are made.

The Path Of A Bed

Made In China Cheap & Toxic

Chinese factories turn the polyethylene and polystyrene pellets into plastic Mardi Gras throws.
 
Many beads are reportedly made from “recycled plastic in China.”  But researchers have shown that the amalgam (mix holding materials together) also contains concerning levels of lead, arsenic, and – through electron microscopy – flame retardant chemicals*. Researchers state that these findings show “strong evidence that these beads are made from recycled e-waste plastic”.
 
*Flame retardants, which can remain persistent in the environment for years, disrupt our body’s endocrine (hormonal), immune, reproductive and neurological systems. 
 

The Path Of A Bead

Sea Freight From china To The U.S.A

Carbon Footprint

Mardi Gras beads are shipped across the ocean twice, once as plastic pellets, and once as beads. These supply-chain inefficiencies increase their carbon footprint.

Costly Emmisions

The sea freight industry emits roughly 800 million tons of carbon dioxide per year. This equates to roughly 4% of all greenhouse emissions per year.

The Path Of A Bead

From St. Charles To The French Quarter

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The Path OF A Bead

25 million pounds of beads Thrown Only 2% are Recycled

Today, roughly 25 million pounds of petroleum-based plastic beads are thrown every year, despite the beads not becoming a tradition until the 1970s.

Not only do these beads have a massive carbon footprint, but research shows that they are also highly toxic as well.

It is estimated that those beads contain around 920,000 pounds of mixed chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, and up to 10,000 pounds of lead.

The Path Of A Bead

We Think It's Time To Rethink Mardi Gras Beads

The carbon footprint from the ocean crossings and transcontinental shipping of the beads to New Orleans is significant enough! 

Since the inevitable destination of chemical laden beads are landfills and/or waterways, is it time to rethink what is thrown?

0 +
Tons Of Non-Recycled Beads
0 +
LBS Of Flame Retardants
0 +
Lbs Of Lead

Verdi Gras

The Path Of A Bead

The Path Of A Bead

From The Earth's Crust To The Parade Route

While many people think plastic beads are ubiquitous with Mardi Gras, they didn’t actually become a tradition until the 1970s, over 100 years after the first Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans!

From oil extracted from deep inside the Earth’s crust to the parade route, the path of a Mardi Gras bead is long and destructive, both to our environment and our health!

The Path Of A Bead

Refined & Processed from Oil To Plastic Pellets

Like all petroleum based plastic, the journey for most Mardi Gras beads begins with oil from the Gulf of Mexico, the Middle East, and elsewhere around the globe.

 

The Path Of A Bead

The Journey Begins In The Earth's Crust

After the oil is extracted from the Earth, it is processed into Polystyrene & Polyethylene pellets, which are the raw materials used in many plastic-based products

Once the pellets are formed, they are packaged and shipped to China, where the vast majority of all Mardi Gras beads are made.

The Path Of A Bead

Made In China Cheap & Toxic

Chinese factories turn the polyethylene and polystyrene pellets into plastic Mardi Gras throws.
 
Many beads are reportedly made from “recycled plastic in China.”  But researchers have shown that the amalgam (mix holding materials together) also contains concerning levels of lead, arsenic, and – through electron microscopy – flame retardant chemicals*. Researchers state that these findings show “strong evidence that these beads are made from recycled e-waste plastic”.
 
*Flame retardants, which can remain persistent in the environment for years, disrupt our body’s endocrine (hormonal), immune, reproductive and neurological systems. 
 

The Path Of A Bead

Sea Freight From China To the U.S.A

Mardi Gras beads are shipped across the ocean twice, once as plastic pellets, and once as beads. These supply-chain inefficiencies increase their carbon footprint.

It is estimated that the sea freight industry emits roughly 800 million tons of carbon dioxide per year, equating to roughly 4% of all greenhouse emissions per year.

The Path Of A Bead

25 million pounds of beads Thrown Only 2% are Recycled

Today, roughly 25 million pounds of petroleum-based plastic beads are thrown every year, despite the beads not becoming a tradition until the 1970s.

Not only do these beads have a massive carbon footprint, but research shows that they are also highly toxic as well.

It is estimated that those beads contain around 920,000 pounds of mixed chlorinated and brominated flame retardants, and up to 10,000 pounds of lead.

The Path Of A Bead

We Think It's Time To Rethink Mardi Gras Beads

The carbon footprint from the ocean crossings and transcontinental shipping of the beads to New Orleans is significant enough! 

Since the inevitable destination of chemical laden beads are landfills and/or waterways, is it time to rethink what is thrown?

0 +
Tons Of Non-Recycled Beads
0 +
LBS Of Flame Retardants
0 +
Lbs Of Lead
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