My day at the State Fair


Six hours of composting corn cobs at the State Fair must be the dream of every Minnesota girl who doesn’t qualify for the Princess Kay competition. Eureka Recycling, the TC’s based nonprofit recycler just made the dream come true.

Some months ago Eureka posed one of those Eureka imponderables that put them on the TC’s environmental map for more than two decades.. What happens with all those corn cobs denuded by Fair goers who consume upwards of 10,000 ears if corn a day. Is there life after gluttonous Minnesotans nibble away those rich kernels then mindlessly toss tons of compostable cobs into trash cans bulging with plastic beer cups and water bottles, not to mention ubiquitous sticks once proudly laced with rice krispie bars, key lime pie, pickles, chocolate dipped strawberries and pronto pups.

Tens of thousands of Minnesotans have now experienced Eureka’s proactive initiative. Even as the butter drips from their greasy fingers and stray kernels cling to their cheeks Fair goers are trooping en masse to Eureka’s composting sites, gleefully making the world a better place by contributing their cobs to the composting chain.

Posted at each cob-guzzling portal stands a green-shirted Eureka volunteer, cheerfully explaining that plastic is not biodegradable but napkins are welcome, that the cobs will be processed at a large commercial site, and that Yes, this and many simple actions do make a difference.

Watch for strategically sited corn cob composting sites (they resemble puppet theaters) near the fresh corn vendor near the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair. This year’s discarded cob will nurture a prize winning turnip, tomato or tulip by 2009.

Mary Treacy, who spent a day at a compost station, reports that the standard response to the volunteers’ “thank you” was a hearty “thank YOU” from greasy, but grateful, cob contributors.