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Mobile nonprofit encourages recycling during Mardi Gras celebrations

City of Mobile

Mardi Gras season back to Alabama, and a Mobile nonprofit is gearing up for the trash that comes with the celebrations. The Alabama Coastal Foundation (ACF) has a main goal to “improve and protect Alabama's coastal environment through cooperation, education, and participation.”

The organization has been volunteering at the Port City’s parades since 2013. In 2020, the city of Mobile and the ACF began collaborating to improve recycling numbers.

“Back in 2020, the city said, ‘Hey, we love your volunteers, but we're gonna let our workers do the collective recycling.’ That's where our numbers really did grow exponentially,” said ACF Executive Director Mark Berte. “Last year alone, the city workers were able to collect 8,850 pounds of recycling, which is which is fantastic.”

Additionally, reported in the past, over 5,000 pounds of recyclable materials were collected by roving crews. Berte said Mardi Gras in Mobile is a cultural experience but encourages parade goers to keep the streets clean.

“It's just a fun way to experience Mobile and our culture down here. But yes, we encourage people to not only recycle, but if they see trash on the ground, go ahead and pick that up and put it away so that it's a good clean experience for everybody,” he said.

Berte said recycling is important to practice outside of just big events like Mardi Gras. He explained there are ways to do it at home, too.

“We have, it's called an Eco-Team Recycling. You can reach out to us, and we'll do it as a part of a service contract,” he said.

The foundation reports the Eco-Team has successfully recycled plastics, aluminum and cardboard during BayFest (2012 - 2014), Mardi Gras (2013-2019), Streets Alive (2014), 1065 (2015 - 2018), and the Mobile Thompson Fishing Rodeo (2015).

The team also has reportedly recruited staff and volunteers to recycle at the Hangout Music Fest since 2017. Additionally, while Mardi Gras parades did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, workers recycled during every parade in 2020, 2022 and 2023.

Berte said there’s also resources available for residents who want to recycle at home or on the go.

“We also put on our website, free of charge, a Green Events Planning Guide. You can download that and basically recycle wherever you are,” he said.

To learn more about the Mardi Gras recycling event in Mobile, visit the Alabama Coastal Foundation website. Additionally, a list of Mardi Gras events in the Port City can be found here.

Andrea Tinker is a student intern at Alabama Public Radio. She is majoring in News Media with a minor in African American Studies at The University of Alabama. In her free time, Andrea loves to listen to all types of music, spending time with family, and reading about anything pop culture related.

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