Update: This letter was published in the Advocate | Times-Picayune!

It’s good to see the New Orleans City Council do the right thing, even for the “wrong” reason.

Should Mardi Gras krewes be allowed to blast Mylar confetti from cannons? No! That’s a terrible idea.

Mylar is not foil. It’s actually plastic. The problem with blasting thousands of little pieces of plastic all over the place is that we can’t possibly clean them all up. They get washed down into the drains, breaking into smaller and smaller fragments, entering our waterways, creating hazards to aquatic life and humans too.

As reported in the paper, the Council banned the practice because the metallic-coated plastic confetti can fry our electrical wires. Granted, that’s a genuine problem. My friend’s cousin got stuck in an elevator because of a power outage after the Krewe of Cleopatra blasted off their cannon. No one wants to repeat that kind of nonsense.

But let’s be clear: even if they made it safe for power lines, plastic confetti should still be banned because it’s hazardous to health and ecology. In fact, this rule shouldn’t just apply to cannons on Carnival floats. Plastic confetti ought to be banned across the board. However, outlawing the practice of throwing confetti is never going to be effective. In fact, that would be grotesque. I call upon our state legislature to ban the sale and manufacture of plastic confetti in the state of Louisiana.

People like to throw confetti in the air. It’s part of how we celebrate important milestones in life. But a few seconds later, the confetti falls to the ground. It becomes litter, and plastic confetti is the worst kind of litter. If we have to litter, let’s do it with something non-toxic. If we have to throw confetti, let’s do it like our grandparents did, before DuPont invented Mylar.

next to some star-shaped Mylar confetti, a leaf bears the inscription: "The Worst Litter - Confetti"
photo by Bart Everson
Right Thing, Wrong Reason
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