People enjoying a cold beverage at the Missouri State Fair can throw away their empty cups and cans with a clear conscience.
If placed in the appropriate bin, the cup or can will be recycled instead of ending up in the landfill. The fair generated 263 tons of trash last year.
This year, the fair is trying to decrease the garbage generated during the 11-day event by placing 50 recycle bins for aluminum and plastic beverage containers. The bins will be placed next to regular trash barrels.
Fair Director Marion Lucas said he thinks the program is a good, ripe idea since people may be more environmentally conscious than ever before.
“I think the fairgoers are going to think, ‘Hey, this is the right thing to do. Let’s pitch in and help.’ I hope that’s the way they think about it,” Lucas said.
Lucas said Cynthia Mitchell, resource development adviser for Midwest Assistance Program (MAP), approached him about instituting the program. MAP helps small, rural communities and tribal nations with development needs including solid waste management and recycling.
Mitchell said she has recently been working on special event recycling. She thought the fair would be a good place “to promote the idea of proper waste management” since it draws between 300,000 and 400,000 people.
“The State Fair would be a great venue because of the number of people who come through there, and the opportunity to recycle, and just to get the promotion of the idea of recycling incorporated into the fair,” Mitchell said.
Lucas said the fair attempted a recycling program more than a decade ago, but it failed because people put too much trash inside the recycle bins. He said signs and the bright red containers with a cup-sized hole should clear up confusion this time.
“You should look at them quickly and see it’s not for trash,” he said.
The program is a joint effort. Anheuser-Busch Recycling and County Distributing are donating the bins. Workers will take the recyclables to the Johnson County Sheltered Workshop.
The Pioneer Trails Regional Planning Commission has donated $1,000 to cover the cost of labor.
The fair is Aug. 7 to 17.