State Fair Revs Up Recycling Efforts

By: Rowena Li Email
By: Rowena Li Email

Visitors to the 2012 Nebraska State Fair may have noticed the recycling bins for plastic all around the fairgrounds. They're just the latest efforts by the State Fair to help erase the fair's carbon footprint.

"So often times when you're walking around and you're done with the beverage, for most people it's a habit to find a recycling container. We didn't have those in the past and we are fortunate and happy to have them this year," says Jaime Parr, facilities director for the fair.

Fairgoers are also responding positively to the new efforts.

Denniss Berling, who has been to the 2012 State Fair three times, says the efforts show "that we care, that we're out to keep our environment very clean, keep our state clean. I think it's a good doing and I think this is a good way to encourage other people to do it."

Fair officials are also trying to finesse other recycling efforts, such as those of aluminum cans in the beer gardens. Recycling bins are often placed right next to regular trash cans, so officials cut holes in the lids of the recycling bins to help fairgoers remember where to recycle their finished drinks.

The recycling efforts affect the animals as well. Many of the indoor barns use recycled cardboard as bedding for the animals.

And the recycling goes beyond just what fairgoers can see. All the vegetable oil used to fry everybody's favorite fair foods doesn't just go to waste, it gets turned into bio-diesel fuel.

"There are seven different points here at State Fairgrounds where vendors can take their hot fryer oil. We collect it and we recycle it here in Nebraska and it's used in Nebraska," says Robert Byrnes of Nebraska Renewable Energy Systems, which facilitates the oil recycling.

It's just another way the fair is helping Nebraska increase its use of renewable energy.

"It's the right thing to do," says Parr. "Recycling, reducing, and reusing our waste is the right thing to do. I think we all kind of know that now."

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