CONTINUING COVERAGE: FLOODS OF 2016

State Fair Trash Collection a Monumental Task

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Over the first four days of the Iowa State Fair 93,000 people, on average, have attended each day. Along with all those people comes a lot of trash. The Iowa State Fair has to employ two different companies to keep up with the trash.

Ankeny Sanitation handles the commercial hauls and Phoenix Renewable Resources takes care of the public’s waste.

There are almost 1,000 barrels of trash and recycling to pick up along the curbs of the fairgrounds.

In addition to the barrels, there are over 150 commercial dumpster on site.

Each day the crews with Ankeny Sanitation collect over 40 tons of trash. To put that in perspective, that would be equivalent to the weight of four schools buses. Over the span of the fair they estimate that total weight of the trash will equal 600 tons.

"It's going to get messy," said A.J. Colosimo, crew manager for Phoenix Renewable Resources.

"They started as young kids and today they run this whole thing," said Tony Colosimo, CEO of Phoenix Renewable Resources, as he points to his son and the crew. "Him and all of his friends have been doing this since high school. We call them the Environmental Green Team."

"You have to mentally prepare yourself for the amount of trash," says A.J. Colosimo. "Can't be afraid of what's in the bag. You never know what you are going to see."

About a dozen crew members work all hours of the day to keep the trash off the street.

"Crews start as early as about 5 o'clock," said Tony Colosimo. "We have another crew that comes in late and stays until the fair closes."

In those trash cans it's not just garbage, they have found some interesting items.

"They found a whole hog that was sitting in the trash," said Tony Colosimo. "Mainly it's just trash. The thing that is most difficult is the cans with liquid still in them."

Tony and his "Environmental Green Team" are just one of the many ways the fair is pushes to be more environmentally friendly.

"We have noticed that in the past three years since we added the recycling bins people are using them," says A.J. Colosimo. "It used to be that they would just throw trash in the recycling bins but now they are separating it."

The Iowa State Fair has committed to supporting environmentally-friendly practices throughout the fairgrounds. The 2014 Fair recycled more than 54 tons of waste, shattering the previous record of 35 tons set in 2013.