- Associated Press - Saturday, March 26, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A local New Orleans charity is giving a second life to beads thrown during Mardi Gras celebrations and employing people with intellectual disabilities at the same time.

A story by WDSU (https://bit.ly/1RCpCdu ) Saturday describes how the Arc of Greater New Orleans collects beads after Mardi Gras, sorts them and will sell them the following year to Mardi Gras krewes to throw again.

The organization also employs people with intellectual disabilities to sort through the tens of thousands of pounds of beads they receive at the end of Carnival season.

Margie Perez, recycling coordinator at the organization, said not only does the recycling program help people find jobs but it also cuts down on unnecessary waste.

“We’re saving these beads from getting in landfills, we’re also saving people money because buying from us is a lot cheaper and because we’re finding people employment, it’s a win-win across the board,” said Perez.

Area residents can bring beads they collect during the Mardi Gras season to the organization and the group’s volunteers and employees will sort through the beads and package them for sale for next year. Last year the program recycled 175,000 pounds of beads.

The Arc of Greater New Orleans employs about 80 people with disabilities in various businesses the organization runs including the bead recycling program.

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Information from: WDSU-TV, https://www.wdsu.com

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