The signature hand-decorated sunglasses will fly from the Krewe of Iris parade on Feb. 26, and so will something new in Iris throws. The city’s oldest and largest all-female Mardi Gras krewe will debut a line of sustainable throws in its 2022 parade.
Iris riders will toss throws provided by Grounds Krewe, a local nonprofit dedicated to Carnival sustainability.
The city estimates that sanitation workers collect at least 150 tons of garbage during a typical parade season, a number that Grounds Krewe aims to reduce. The nonprofit works to recycle throws and to promote locally produced items that revelers can take home and use. According to Grounds Krewe, millions of dollars are spent each year on disposable parade throws from overseas factories.
Iris’ Flower Power package consists of biodegradable, functional throws made from sustainable materials by Louisiana-based organizations. The throws include small packages of jambalaya mix, red beans or coffee from New Orleans companies; purple-green-and-gold colored soap with bio-glitter from a Port Allen-based artisan; bamboo toothbrushes with Iris purple-and-white bristles; recycled-paper pencil sets; cups made from 100% recycled plastic; and a tote bag made from biodegradable jute fiber.
The package is the Grounds Krewe’s first krewe-branded package of sustainable throws. Revelers who catch the throws can scan the QR code on each throw to learn its backstory.
“The Krewe of Iris is proud to support Grounds Krewe’s work by being the first krewe to offer its members these eco-friendly throws that blend tradition with awareness,” said Iris Captain Kristin Danflous. “We love the mission, ideas and organizations that these throws support and can’t wait to share them on parade day.”
Since 2018, Grounds Krewe has spearheaded recycling initiatives to reduce the negative environmental impacts of Carnival parades. For three years, it captured unwanted throws, aluminum cans and plastic bottles during several daytime parades krewes on the Uptown route.
In 2020, Grounds Krewe expanded its parade waste-prevention efforts by piloting an online “Sustainable Throw Catalog” of quality-over-quantity throws made from eco-friendly materials and local products.
The assembly of some throws helps employ local residents in need of work, including members from the Youth Empowerment Project and ArcGNO. Volunteers from Isidore Newman High School also contributed to this year’s krewe-branded throw assembly.
“The Krewe of Iris is the perfect parade for this initiative,” said Brett Davis, founding director of Grounds Krewe. “It’s a family-friendly day parade with final weekend exposure and local women who care about our environment, the city and the health and safety of their throws.”