The recycling project began in 2010, after the City of Spencer received a forgivable loan from the Iowa Department of National Resources' Solid Waste Alternatives Program. With this money, the Fair purchased 200 recycling bins to include near the trash bins throughout the fairgrounds.
"We do our best to keep it easy," Rebecca Peters, marketing manager for the Clay County Fair, said. "Different organizations volunteer to come by and pick up the recycling from the bins."
By the end of the 2012 fair, the amount of recyclables nearly doubled the numbers from last year's fair.
In total, the Fair gathered 2.1 tons of plastics and 2.5 tons of cardboard, compared to the 1.05 tons of plastics and 1.64 tons of cardboard gathered a year ago. Among the plastics were almost 12,000 bottles and cans that were donated to Sunshine Services.
"Recycling is becoming more mainstream," Peters said. "People are getting so used to it, and a lot of different events and organizations are integrating it into everything they do."
In addition to patron convenience, the fair has also worked to make recycling easier for the vendors.
"The amount of cardboard they go through is extensive," Peters said. "There's a lot going on, and we're taking it all into consideration."
For the Fair, recycling doesn't offer a financial benefit. The environmental consciousness, however, is their primary concern for the project.
"I feel like we have an obligation to be a good steward of the environment," said Clay County Fair manager Jeremy Parsons. "Continuing to develop and grow our recycling program is one way we do that."
"Any time you have an event that brings this many people together, it's important to make sure that you have a smaller environmental impact," Peters said.
Peters also noted that the amount of recyclables gathered this year wasn't just a credit to the fair and its volunteers:
"We offer the service, but it comes down to the fairgoer and the vendor," she said. "They've been responding well, and we really appreciate it."
Parsons noted the environmental push will remain strong in the coming years.
"Probably the biggest area will be increasing cardboard recycling," he said. "We hope to have some additional drop-off points for vendors during the fair next year."