How the State Fair handles all that garbage – KARE
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Mountains of squeezed lemons. Piles of milk cartons. Heaps of chewed out corn cobs.
In an area tucked away from the barns and the crowds, the fair’s Sanitation Department collects the trash that accumulates during the Minnesota State Fair. And boy, does it pile up. But it doesn’t all end up in landfills.
According to Cory Franzmeier, who oversees sanitation operations at the fair, staff collected 62 tons of aluminum, glass and plastic items last year. In addition, staff picked up 60 tons of compost and 191 tons of cardboard in 2014.
“This is basically a 24-hour operation. We are recycling just about everything that we possibly can, ” said Franzmeier.
He added, the fair’s staff is “doing our part to be environmentally friendly.”
In addition to a 60-person staff that collects trash on the grounds and is in charge of restroom maintenance, the Fair also employs students with the South Washington County District.
The students are paid to sort recyclable items. For many, it’s their first job.
“They come here everyday, Sundays are busier than other days, ” said Rob Weberg, who supervises the students. “It’s hot. It’s really a fast-paced job. It’s good for the next job opportunity.”
Grease is also collected and re-purposed.
According to the State Fair, vendors collect grease, which is then turned over to the sanitation department. The grease is recycled and turned into biodiesel fuel.
Last year, more than 130,000 tons of grease was collected.
Did you chew on a turkey leg this year? It turns out the fair also recycles meat scraps.
According to the State Fair, the recycled meat scraps go through a rendering process that separates the protein and fat. The protein is then used as an ingredient in animal feed.