State Fair organizers recycled more than 18 times the amount of recyclables over last year. State Fair spokeswoman Tammie Nichols says ramped up efforts this year paid off, keeping some 18 thousand pounds of waste out of landfills.
She says recycling containers, placed next to regular trash receptacles, made it convenient for folks to recycle. She says people want to do the right thing if it’s available and convenient.
Nichols says the plan was orchestrated by Social Ventures Midwest Assistance Program, a nonprofit that serves a 9-state area. And, Nichols says, contributions by Anheuser-Busch and the Department of Natural Resources made a big impact.
The recycleables were taken to the Sheltered Workshop in Warrensburg, which processes the materials and gains a profit. It’s a win-win situation, says Nichols.
This year’s program resulted in a significantly more impactful green initiative with 9.23 tons, or more than 18,000 pounds of recyclable materials processed during and after this year’s Fair compared to just less than 1,000 pounds last year.
Fair Director Mark Wolfe said major contributing factors to the success were the increased number and placement of bins going from just 50 last year to a total of 390 in 2009 covering more of the grounds.
Anheuser Busch Recycling/County Distributing Co., Inc., provided 40 of the bins and 350 came from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources working with WCA Waste Corporation. In addition, two cardboard compactors were donated to the Fair this year by the Department of Natural Resources Solid Waste Management Program working with WCA with one compactor used for transporting the bags from the beverage container bins and the other used for compacting and transporting collected cardboard.
“The Fair was able to enlarge its recycling program because of the support of sponsors,” Wolfe says.
The breakdown of collected waste in tons was 6.98 cardboard, .64 plastic, .27 aluminum, 1.33 newspapers and .81 unrecyclables for a total of 10.03 tons collected with 9.23 being recyclable materials.
Cynthia Mitchell, Director of Social Ventures Midwest Assistance Program, a Minnesota based nonprofit, coordinated the fair’s recycling plan.
“Cardboard recycling is an area that can be focused on in future years to make a bigger impact,” she says. “Perhaps with more vendor and exhibitor notification and by identifying cardboard holding locations adjacent to the trash dumpsters.”
Mitchell says one ton of recycled paper uses 64 percent less energy, 50 percent less water, produces 74 percent less air pollution and creates 5 times more jobs than one ton of paper products from virgin wood pulp.
Other sponsors in this year’s recycling efforts included: Pioneer Trails West Central Missouri Solid Waste Management District Region F, which assisted in funding the labor associated with collections along with Johnson County Sheltered Workshop in Warrensburg, the State of Missouri Department of Administration, which supplied the bags, and the Missouri Recycling Association, which assisted with bin placement and cardboard collection during fair setup and teardown.