The People's Choice: The Eco Experience

  • Updated: August 17, 2014 - 1:00 AM

The 10-foot-tall wad of paper is the world’s largest, but it’s a fraction of what we throw away each year.

There are two kinds of fairgoers: Those who go to enjoy their traditional favorites, and those who seek out the new and different. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Eco Experience building tries to offer something for both.

For the former group, the Eco Experience offers its usual bounty of information about environmental protection, green technology, energy conservation and other ecological issues. There are talks and displays and demonstrations and free activities for kids.

For novelty seekers, there’s the world’s biggest wad of paper. That’s right — a 10-foot-tall ball of trash.

“It’s all to show what’s going on with recycling paper,” said Pamela McCurdy, the agency’s information officer. “Every year, Minnesotans throw away a billion pounds of paper that could be recycled. Think about how much mail and paper we still get. Cereal boxes, cardboard boxes from online retailers, even things like toilet paper rolls. It’s so shocking when you look at the numbers.”

Many companies rely on recycled paper, but because not enough people do the recycling, “they’re actually having to ship it from other states,” McCurdy said.

At press time, it wasn’t yet clear whether the paper wad would make the list of Guinness World Records, but that was the goal. They’ll also be displaying a love seat (yes, you can sit on it) made of paper.

“It’s a fun little endeavor,” McCurdy said. “Sometimes you have to be impactful to get people to think about things.” □

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