Called “throws,” bead necklaces thrown to passerby are key to any Fat Tuesday celebration but generate large amounts of waste plastic. According to Houma Today, 46 tons of beads were found in the drainage system along the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade route in 2019. NexEvo’s beads are made of starch from corn, wheat, rice and potatoes and biodegrade within months.
“There is a solution on the horizon, and it’s in the form of bioplastic that is both biodegradable and compostable,” Jerome Milton, NexEvo’s founder, tells the publication. Biodegradable paint is also used instead of the metallic coloring used on conventional beads.
Milton expects to sell the beads online for $0.93-$2.00 per necklace in time for next year’s celebrations. “I can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Milton said. “There is a ray of hope for the Mardi Gras bead.”