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MPCA attempts to build world's largest wad of paper at State Fair

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The Minnesota State Fair may be home to the world's largest wad of paper.

The giant ball is 9 feet, 7 inches tall, 32.8 feet around and weights 426 pounds, according to the Star Tribune. Measurements were sent to the Guinness Book of World Records on Friday, the newspaper notes.

The wad of paper represents how much paper Minnesotans throw away in less than 30 seconds, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's (MPCA) website.

The MPCA came up with the idea to create the world's largest wad of paper to encourage more Minnesotans to recycle, noting a recent Waste Characterization report shows 1 billion pounds of paper ends up in Minnesota's landfills every year instead of being recycled or composted, and then reused by Minnesota businesses.

The wad of paper will be on display as part of the Eco Experience at the Minnesota State Fair, which starts Aug. 21 and runs through Sept. 1. The Eco Experience is the second-largest exhibit at the fair and won the People Choice Award for Best Attraction last year.

The Eco Experience will also show how Minnesota businesses use recycled paper (post-consumer or wastepaper) to create products like insulation, ceiling tiles, cardboard, milk cartons, juice boxes and of course, paper, according to a MPCA news release.

"RockTenn in St. Paul uses 1,000 tons of recycled paper a day to make box paper for General Mills and others," Wayne Gjerde of the MPCA told the Star Tribune. "Liberty Paper in Becker brings in 500 tons of paper a day. New Page in Duluth brings in about 400 tons a day."

The Star Tribune says Minnesota's paper-product manufacturers often can't get enough wastepaper to meet demand, so they have to buy post-consumer paper from other states.

Gjerde told the newspaper the 1 billion pounds of paper Minnesotans don't recycle could "generate about $34 million a year" if it was sold to Minnesota businesses in need of wastepaper.

That's why the MPCA hopes to raise awareness with the giant wad of paper. If more people change their habits and recycle paper products, it would increase the amount of wastepaper available to Minnesota's businesses, the MPCA says.

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