Large events like Mardi Gras in New Orleans have a huge environmental impact that revelers are unlikely to consider in their frenzy for fun. But think about what's left behind: massive amounts of unrecyclable trash going to landfills, cheap beads and other trinkets made by low-paid workers in China that are thrown away after one use, decorations and costumes that fall apart and can't be reused. But there's good news. Some local groups and small businesses have been working in recent years to change that. Katrina Brees founded the Greening the Gras Conference in 2012 and with her and other's efforts, much more waste is recycled after the celebration and there are now sustainable options made locally, like the paper beads made by Zombeads, and other ecofriendly decorations. The Krewe of Kolossos creates upcycled costumes recycled from previous celebrations. Let's hope this kind of mindset becomes commonplace in large celebrations everywhere.
New ideas for sharing are popping up everywhere. Sharing and reusing not only saves money, but reduces waste and helps you meet people in your community. We've used Freecycle to give and receive household items locally. This article mentions several other ways to create or make use of a sharing culture near you.