Throw Sustainability (Not Just Beads) Into the Mix for Mardi Gras Celebrations

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The crown jewel of the Soulard Mardi Gras season is just days away, and while green is one of the three prominent colors you’re guaranteed to see all day Saturday, the event is notoriously known for being anything but. In line with the parade theme – “Mardi Gras By the Numbers” – merrymakers by the tens of thousands will gather from far and wide to watch krewes ride more than 70 floats during the Grand Parade, which begins at Busch Stadium and East of Ballpark Village and proceeds through the streets of Downtown South and Soulard to the place where the King of Beers was born: Anheuser-Busch Brewery.  

On an individual level, there are plenty of ways to go green during one of the largest Mardi Pardis outside of New Orleans. You might even be surprised at how simple it can be to adopt just one of many possible eco-friendly actions to have a significant impact on improving the region’s air quality and helping people all over St. Louis breathe easier. That’s something everyone can celebrate! 

For starters, you can reduce your carbon footprint by opting to take public transportation, a shuttle, taxi or ride-share service to get to the parade and avoid the hassles of parking. While Metro will not operate a special shuttle this year, there are several transit options available to help you enjoy all the fun and festivities of this treasured St. Louis tradition. Area residents can hop on MetroLink and ride to the Stadium MetroLink Station, which is just a short walk away from the action in Soulard and Ballpark Village. MetroBus is another great way to enjoy the celebration, with the #10 Gravois-Lindell, #30 Arsenal and #73 Carondelet MetroBus routes serving stops near Soulard. Many local restaurants will also operate shuttles to and from Soulard. For real-time traffic updates to avoid delays and congestion on parade day, be sure to also check out MoDOT’s Gateway Guide at   

An estimated 17,000,000 beads will come into play Saturday, and even though they make for a great souvenir, these popular accessories made up of cheap plastic strings and other toxic materials like polystyrene and lead also pose an unnecessary threat to the environment. Instead of littering the streets or tossing them into trash cans, consider dropping them off at a local business or organization that offers a bead recycling program or channel your crafty side and try reusing them in your next art project. To further reduce your environmental impact, keep an eye out for recycling containers along the parade route to properly dispose of waste such as non-biodegradable Styrofoam cups, aluminum cans, glass bottles and more that typically get left behind and eventually wind up in landfills.  

We encourage you to incorporate sustainability into your Mardi Gras plans this year to do your share for cleaner air to help protect the planet. To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website at, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. Laissez les bon temps rouler!