Recycle on the Go Success St
Delaware  State  Fair Recycling Initiative
At the annual Delaware State Fair, visitors not only enjoy agricultural events and amusement park rides, but they
also can eat and drink their fill of the concessionaires' treats. In 2006, fair organizers launched a recycling initiativ
during the 10-day event in Harrington, Delaware, inviting fairgoers to dispose of their beverage containers in
recycling bins and encouraging concessionaires to collect their cardboard packaging for recycling. The successful
initiative raked in 6,958 pounds of recyclables. In 2007, fair organizers upped the ante by about 7 percent,
 Facts at a Glance
    The fairgrounds cover
    330 acres.

    More than 300,000
    visitors come to the
    annual 10-day fair.

    The fair puts out 400,
    96-gallon containers for
    trash collection.

    The fair used 50 recycling
    bins during the 2007 fair.

    Four AmeriCorps
    volunteers collected
    recyclables either nightly
    or each morning before
    the fair opened.

    In 2007, the fair collected
    an estimated 7,470 pounds
    of recycled materials.

    The contamination
    rate was about 12 percent,
    a number DNREC
    deems "good."

•v        w

                                                      The recycling bins (left),
                                                      like the garbage cans
                                                      (right), have wheels to
                                                      facilitate moving them
                                                      into location.
Program Overview
The Delaware State Fair began as a small county event, created in 1920, to provide a
place for promoting and encouraging agriculture. Today, the fair is one of the state's
largest events, held on 330 acres of fairgrounds. The state fair draws more than
300,000 people to the annual 10-day event, known for its livestock shows, live music
and entertainment, and the nightly Delaware State Fair parade. In addition, the fair
hosts arts and crafts exhibits, family  activities, and a wide variety of contests, along
with assorted food vendors.

In 2006, the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control
(DNREC) and the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (DSWA) partnered with the fair's
organizers to collect corrugated cardboard, plastic bottles, and aluminum cans. DNREC
chose cardboard because it is available in high volumes in vendor areas as a packaging
waste from food, beverages, and prizes. Offering recycling for plastic bottles and
                                                           U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY Recycle on the Go

aluminum cans was a way to capture materials that fairgoers could easily recycle. The
recycling initiative builds upon the fair's legacy of preserving agriculture, reducing waste,
and protecting the environment.

DNREC and DSWA officials collaborated with the fair's marketing department and facility
manager to establish a partnership and work out the logistics for operating the recycling
initiative. Volunteer labor to collect the materials on the fairgrounds was provided through
an innovative arrangement between the DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation and
AmeriCorps, a network of local, state, and national service programs that coordinates
volunteers to serve critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment.

Nuts and  Bolts
Bin Selection. The fair's recycling efforts stemmed from DNREC's desire to put
recycling in the public eye. Appearance was a key consideration in selecting the recycling
bins to purchase, and much thought went into the bins' aesthetic design. The department
sought bins that would stand out from the nearby garbage receptacles. "This was the
primary driver," says Bill Miller, an environmental scientist with DNREC's Solid and
Hazardous Waste Management Branch, who helped coordinate the recycling program at
the fair. "Recycling bins have to be discernable from trash cans." DNREC officials wanted
the bins to have wheels for ease of moving, a lockable lid to minimize contamination
(mixing trash in with recyclables), and a capacity large enough so workers would not
have to empty them every few hours.

After reviewing numerous product catalogs and Web sites, viewing options at local
hardware stores, and speaking with product manufacturers, DNREC's recycling
coordinator finally settled on green, 68-gallon, wheeled bins with bright yellow lids
featuring openings just large  enough to accept aluminum cans and plastic bottles.
The yellow lids cost more but ensured that the recycling bins would stand out. The
department ordered specialized stickers as well to further brand the recycling bins. The
green bases feature stickers that read "Recycle Here" on both sides. The yellow lids have
stickers that read "Warning:  No Garbage" and
"Empty Plastic and Aluminum Only." The bins
for cardboard were labeled "Cardboard Only—
No Trash, No Food Residue, Please Break Down
Your Boxes."
                                                       EMPTY PLASTIC &
                                                       ALUMINUM  ONLY
DNREC ultimately purchased 100 bins at a cost
of $7,600. Factoring in the cost of the stickers,
the bins worked out to be about $84 each.

Collection Logistics. DNREC officials
strategically placed the commingled bins
(all recyclables can be collected in one bin)
throughout the fairgrounds to encourage visitors
to recycle their plastic and aluminum beverage
containers.  Bins were placed along walkways
where fairgoers could easily access them and
adjacent to garbage cans to reduce contamination. The bins for cardboard were
placed behind vendor stalls, again for ease of access. During the 2007 fair, DNREC
                                                                              The recycling bins
                                                                              feature bright yellow tops
                                                                              and clear labels to help
                                                                              fairgoers differentiate them
                                                                              from the garbage cans.

put out 50 containers: 30 for collecting aluminum and plastic containers and 20 for
cardboard. (DNREC did not put out all of its available recycling bins due to the limited
number of volunteers available to empty them.) DSWA placed four 8-cubic-yard
recycling dumpsters, for cardboard only, behind strategic vendor areas.

Volunteers from AmeriCorps assisted in collecting the recyclable materials. Each day,
four volunteers spent about 2 hours collecting the recyclables, removing any commingled
trash, and delivering the materials (using two full-size pickup trucks) to the DSWA
cardboard dumpsters onsite or a DSWA recycling drop-off center about a mile away from
the fairgrounds.

The AmeriCorps volunteers weighed the aluminum cans and plastic bottles before
trucking the materials to the drop-off center. DNREC provided the volunteers with
a bathroom-style scale to weigh the  bags of recyclables. The AmeriCorps volunteers
estimated the volume of cardboard (based on the space they took up in the truck bed),
and then converted the volumes to weights using the ratio of 150 pounds per cubic yard,
as prescribed in the EPA publication Measuring Recycling: A Guide for State and Local
Governments (EPA530-R-97-011).

During the 2006 pilot program, 252 pounds of plastic, 135 pounds of aluminum, and
7,080 pounds of cardboard were collected. By 2007, the plastic and aluminum numbers
more than doubled, jumping to 535  pounds and 423  pounds, respectively. The  cardboard
number dropped slightly to 6,512 pounds. With landfill tipping fees of $61.50 per ton,
diverting 7,470 pounds (about 3.7 tons) saved approximately $230 in disposal costs.

After the fair, DNREC officials collected the recycling bins, washed them, and  stacked
them four or five high (after taking the wheels off) in a storage  shed about 20 minutes
away from fairgrounds. The department uses a few of the bins to facilitate recycling at
small DNREC events during the year and is investigating other opportunities to use  the
bins for additional events.

Results From the 2006  and 2007  Fairs
For collecting plastic and aluminum containers
For collecting cardboard

Plastic bottles
Aluminum cans

(in Pounds)



(in Pounds)
*DNREC attributes the overall increase in recycling between the 2006 and 2007 fairs to the use of more bins and
greater participation among fairgoers.

DNREC developed
this map to illustrate
the location of its
68-gallon recycling
bins for commingled
aluminum cans
and plastic bottles,
68-gallon bins for
cardboard, and
8-yard dumpsters
for cardboard.
                        2007 Map
               Delaware Slata Fair ReeycJog Project
                  DNREC - DS W • DSF. fre
  United States
  Environmental Protection
  September 2007
Challenges and  Solutions
Challenge: DNREC did not have enough staff to provide the labor to collect the

Solution:   The solution involved a team approach and partnerships. DNREC staff
            spent about 20 labor hours in planning for recycling at the 2007 Delaware
            State Fair, with about 36 labor hours onsite for physical setup and oversight.
            Four AmeriCorps volunteers spent about 2 hours each day collecting and
            delivering the  recyclables to a drop-off location. DSWA spent about 10
            hours of planning and oversight and 45 hours in collection (including driver
            travel).  The Delaware State Fair staff (facilities manager and marketing
            director) spent a minimal amount of time in planning, probably fewer than
            8 hours combined.

Challenge: Education is the biggest hurdle next to organizing the logistics for collecting
            the recyclables.

Solution:   Delaware State Fair's marketing department paid for a brochure insert about
            the recycling program in local newspapers. Vendors received flyers and maps
            showing the location of recycling containers throughout the fairgrounds. Next
            year, DNREC plans to attend the vendors' meeting to promote the recycling
            program. Further, DNREC plans to better educate vendors and fairgoers on
            the what, why, where, and how of recycling.

            Reasons  for  Success
            The partnerships and cooperation among DNREC, DSWA,  and the
            Delaware  State Fair is critical to  the success of the fair's recycling efforts.
            The labor provided by the AmeriCorps volunteers also was integral to
            the program's success. With no dedicated funds to pay for collection and
            removal, the volunteers are  essential to the Delaware  State Fair's recycling

            Future Forecast
            The goal during the  first 2 years of the program was to offer recycling
            as an option and demonstrate the simplicity of recycling to fairgoers and
            vendors alike.  The pilot program served as a template for future recycling
            efforts at the Delaware State Fair and other community-wide events. In the
            future, DNREC officials plan to meet with vendors in person to encourage
            expanded  participation. Further,  DNREC would like to expand the list of
materials it collects at the fair, possibly to include polystyrene cups. A longer-term goal
is to purchase more bins and ultimately provide as many recycling bins as garbage cans.
The ongoing challenge is finding enough labor to collect and deliver the materials to the
recycling center and helping visitors understand the importance of recycling.
All photos courtesy of Bill Miller, DNREC.
                                .ecycled/Recyclable - Printed with Vegetable Oil Based Inks on 100% Postconsumer,
                               Process Chlorine Free Recycled Paper
                               Disclaimer: The mention of any company, product, or process in this publication does
                               not constitute or imply endorsement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
                                                              EPA is partnering with
                                                              federal agencies, states,
                                                              municipalities, and
                                                              organizations to promote
                                                              recycling in public places.