Mardi Gras has come and gone, but the city’s cleansing continues this week after a festive trash-filled season.
Through Monday (March 4), city officials say clean-up crews have tossed around 608 tons of Mardi Gras debris with more on the way to the landfill. Though city spokeswoman LaTonya Norton said crews finished sweeping Fat Tuesday parade litter early Wednesday morning, Sanitation Department staff are still emptying garbage cans, flushing streets and picking up scattered bits of debris.
“We will be cleaning and re-cleaning areas for the next few days,” Norton said.
If prior Mardi Gras clean-ups are any indication, the roughly 608 tons could be a low count for what the final trash tally may be turn out to be. Last year, crews swept up nearly 1,200 tons of debris, which city officials at the time ranked higher than the average 900 tons but slightly less than the high mark of 1,300 tons in 2017.
About 500 people participated in the cleanup on Fat Tuesday, Norton said. They included city workers, temporary staff and contractors. Norton added that more than 119 pieces of equipment were also used in the clean-up efforts this year.
This year’s Mardi Gras cleanup follows Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s launch of the Clean Up NOLA initiative, which aims to beef up the city’s sanitation and litter-reduction efforts. Norton said the initiative this year pushed for more paradegoers to bring their own bags to help pick up trash.
“When citizens bag their trash, it reduces the volume of windblown debris, food debris that becomes an attraction to rodents and birds, as well as debris that may enter storm drains,” Norton said.
On top of in-house workers and contractors, Norton said the city also supports efforts by several groups to recycle beads and other parade throws. They include Arc of Greater New Orleans, the Young Leadership Council and the volunteer Grounds Krewe.
As in previous years, ArcGNO is hosting drop-off days every second and fourth Saturday of each month for people to bring their beads and throws for recycling. Norton said the next city drop-off day is from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the city recycling center 2829 Elysian Fields Ave.
For a full listing of locations in the New Orleans metro area to drop of beads, visit ArcGNO’s website here.