Ohio State Fair cuts down on waste

Fairs draw thousands of consumers annually.

Recycling at the Ohio State Fair expanded this year with the ‘Waste-Less’ concept. This year’s ‘Taste of Ohio’ building was designed to eliminate most trash from the various food vendors.

Patrons of the ‘Taste’ cafe were served meals with biodegradable plates, utensils and cups. When finished, there were three bins for clean up. The blue bins were for bottles and cans, the green bins handled food scraps and the biodegradable service ware, while the brown bins were for the remaining trash.

SWACO, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and The Ohio State Fair partnered on the ‘Waste-Less’ program. “This pilot program is designed to show people just how much waste we create,” says SWACO executive director Ron Mills. “When we make a little extra effort we can substantially cut the amount we throw away.”

The pilot ‘Waste-Less’ program was part of the ongoing effort to expand recycling at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair. Another part of a $100,000 ODOR grant was the addition of new recycling containers. Approximately 600 blue bins were located near trash containers in high traffic areas on the Fairgrounds.

This is the second year that the ‘Taste of Ohio’ cafe has composted the food waste. In 2007, more than 4,000 pounds of leftovers were collected for reuse. The Fair also recycles grass clippings from its facilities, amounting to acres of clippings used for compost, mulch and soil additives.