State Fair Picks Up Zero Waste Award

The Nebraska State Fair was the recipient of the Zero Waste Award from WasteCap Nebraska at a ceremony held in Lincoln this week.

According to State Fair Facilities Director, Jaime Parr, “The award recognizes an entity that has made significant strides to reduce inputs, reduce waste, recycle and/or reuse byproducts. “Zero Waste” is having a landfill diversion rate of at least 90%. That means keeping waste product out of the landfill to reduce our footprint.”

To further aid in the fair’s recycling efforts, in July, the State Fair earned a Recycling Equipment Grant from the Nebraska State Recycling Association through funds provided by the Nebraska Environmental Trust. The grant for $8,528 and additional funds supplied by Casey’s General Stores and the Nebraska State Fair 1868 Foundation allowed the State Fair to purchase 12 four-yard recycling containers. These containers are used inside the food pods to help Concessionaires sort waste between the landfill and recyclable waste containers.

Earlier this year, the State Fair received a grant from Keep America Beautiful which included 100 wire frame recycling bins for plastic bottles and aluminum cans. This effort allowed the fair to recycle a ton more plastic bottles over 2014.

Parr said, “We strive to see increases in all our recycling from year to year. Of course we couldn’t do it without the help of fairgoers, vendors and others who believe in the cause.” Recycling includes:
• 7.87 tons of cardboard
• 3.03 tons of plastic
• 1,428 pounds of aluminum cans
• 900 gallons of used fryer oil
• 517 tons of livestock bedding

Parr said, “Fair guests can look for more sustainability projects at future fairs and also an increased focus on how we might educate fairgoers on reusing or repurposing items; how to use solar and wind power; how agriculture can increase participation and other sustainability programs.”

Local and regional partners in the fair’s annual sustainability effort include, epochLAB, the Grand Island Area Clean Community System, Kramer’s, Mid-Nebraska Disposal, Nebraska Renewable Energy, O’Neill Wood Resources, Second Nature and WasteCap Nebraska.

The 2016 Nebraska State Fair will be August 26 – September 5.