Mardi Gras is right behind us. You can tell by the beads strung from trees and wires around town.

And then there are the beads that didn't get away.

"What do you do with your beads, anyway?" Susan Nini asks, then answers her own question: "You throw them in your closet or throw them on the ground."

Nini, director of communications for LARC, has a better idea for Mardi Gras beads and throws and it's called Operation Bead Collection, a hands-on recycling program.

For going on six years, LARC clients have sorted, cleaned, de-tangled and re-bagged beads for sale at the Mardi Beads-N-More store at Acadian Village. Proceeds from the sales go to the organization that serves the needs of locals with developmental disabilities and their families.

"Our clients really love it," Nini says. "They get paid for it."

Nini says local krewes drop by the store for the parades and raid the shelves.

"A week out form Mardi Gras and we were sold out," she says, noting that more beads are already making their way back to LARC.

Residents can drop off their beads at Acadian Village, or return them to any Goodwill of Acadiana location and the Mall of Acadiana until March 9. At the mall, bring donations to the Mall Customer Service Desk until March 9, and register to win a $50 mall gift

Donations can also be made at St. Thomas More, Live Oak Elementary, Lafayette High School and Sts. Leo-Seton Elementary.

The L.A. Times has a story today on Mardi Gras beads and the environmental issues and recycle efforts associated with them in New Orleans. Check it out here.

 For more information on LARC's Operation Bead Collection, visit here.

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