A Baton Rouge business is trying to change the way Mardi Gras beads are made.
3-D Beads is working on a type of biodegradable beads to add to its Mardi Gras merchandise selection, and the product could help more than just the environment.
Marcus Ciko has been in the bead crafting business for nearly 20 years, hand-making hundreds of items from primarily recycled beads.
"The regular beads that are thrown out and then I twist them together into various shapes, Like this vest that I'm wearing," said Ciko.
The company creates a variety of products.
"Necklaces, wall hangings, we've got a U.S. Flag, a Mardi Gras flag, a flag for Ghana, Africa. We can do pretty much anybody," said Ciko.
Recently, Ciko enlisted the help of a team of engineers and developers to produce the biodegradable beads.
"It'll replace these polystyrene beads with this new bioplastic, that we're aiming to have made in Louisiana."
Ciko said the idea for the biodegradable beads came from a need to make his products a little lighter and a bit more comfortable.
"From trash from another company, basically as the resource. Then, we'll put it all together and just produce them here instead of in China," said Ciko.
3-D Beads hopes to step up design, create jobs and helping to protect the environment. According to Ciko, the progress is well on its way.
"The next step is we need to get the bioplastic into a Mardi Gras bead shape. We've got to get the molds cut for that. That's where it's at right now in the development process. Once we can actually get the bioplastic molded into a bead shape, we'll be able to get it into people's hands," said Ciko.
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