Boosting State Fair recycling might be as simple more bins

Published 10:25 am Tuesday, August 30, 2016

By Elizabeth Dunbar FM

The Minnesota State Fair expects to recycle more cans, bottles and cups this year, thanks to an effort to place more recycling bins next to trash bins.

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The State Fair generates about 2 million pounds of trash, but officials found in past years that a lot of the material in the waste stream was recyclable.

Through an audit of the trash, officials also found that people threw away fewer recyclable bottles, cans and cups if recycling bins were placed right next to the trash bins.

This year, the Minnesota Beverage Association provided an additional 236 bottle-shaped recycling bins and the State Fair added 100, bringing the total to nearly 800. Association president Tim Wilkin said that means more than half of the fair’s trash bins are now sitting next to a recycling bin.

The fair is increasing the number of recyclinbins by 82 percent, Wilkin said. “We’re going to keep working on the issue.”

After the fair is over, some of the beverage recycling bins will be available for use at other community events.

The State Fair has also been trying to increase recycling of organics. Last year the fair collected 67 tons of food waste, but officials have not set up a widespread organics recycling program.

Other Minnesota State Fair trash facts:

• 70 tons of cooking grease gets turned into biodiesel during a typical State Fair

• 67 tons of food waste were collected and recycled in 2015

• 35 tons of glass, plastic and aluminum were recycled in 2015

• 4,500 tons of State Fair animal manure is hauled to Hastings to be composted