GULFPORT, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Aquarium will host a Mardi Gras bead recycling drive to prevent litter and to protect marine life.

“Mardi Gras beads are plastic, and plastic is not benign. It is loaded with chemicals like bromine and chlorine, as well as heavy metals like lead. When Mardi Gras beads end up as litter in our environment, these chemicals leach into the soil and the water,” said Elizabeth Englebretson of Plastic Free Gulf Coast.

The Mississippi Aquarium and the Arc of Greater New Orleans have partnered to keep beads out of the environment. Last year, the aquarium collected more than 10,000 pounds of beads. 

Mississippians can bring their unwanted Mardi Gras to the aquarium between February 1 and March 22 for recycling. Aquarium staff will take them to the Arc of Greater New Orleans where they will be repurposed and resold. 

Beads can be dropped off from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. daily at recycling bins at the aquarium’s ticketing plaza and in front of the aquarium’s security office on 22nd Avenue in Gulfport.