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Keep HHD clean by recycling

Volunteers from Grand Island Area Clean Community System gather recyclables at largest irrigated farm show.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

August 31, 2021

3 Min Read
Two volunteers gather recyclables
HAPPY HELPERS: Two volunteers are all smiles while gathering recyclables during a past Husker Harvest Days. Look for recycle receptacles around the show site in Grand Island, Neb. Mindy Ward

You’ve eaten at one of the many food establishments on-site at Husker Harvest Days and are ready to clean up and head back to the exhibits. Before you simply toss that food wrapper in the trash, stop to recycle it. The Grand Island Area Clean Community System is once again providing recycling bins at Husker Harvest Days, Sept. 14-16 at Grand Island, Neb.

Husker Harvest Days encourages show attendees and vendors to recycle at the show as way to keep the site clean and do good for the environment. Clean Community recycles tons of cardboard, plastic and aluminum from the show site. Over the years, vendors and visitors are buying into the group’s recycling efforts. From 2018 to 2019, the number of recyclables collected more than doubled, with up to 6 tons of cardboard and 1.5 tons of plastic and aluminum.

Vendors can request bins either inside or directly outside of their booths for those giving away water bottles or soft drink cans. Clean Community provides indoor recycling bins at no charge so they can recycle plastic and aluminum. Vendors can place cardboard either behind their building or tent, or along the curbside. Placing the cardboard alongside the dumpster allows room for more garbage inside.

Clean Community will have three UTVs that run the show grounds from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. nonstop to pick up recycled items. Vendors can wave down one of these vehicles at any time during the event to collect recyclables.

Volunteer-driven program

Clean Community includes a network of volunteers in the Grand Island area who help keep the community clean. Anyone interested in volunteering, whether it's operating a UTV or setting up recycling bins, can contact Denise McGovern-Gallagher at [email protected].

McGovern-Gallagher says the group tries to get as many volunteers as it can for Husker Harvest Days. One day before it opens, the group sets up the bins. Then they are on-site every day at 6 a.m. fueling UTVs and stocking supplies. However, she notes, volunteers have a lot of fun and meet “some really great people, and we're doing something for the environment."

But the organization's efforts don't stop at HHD. Clean Community initiated the city of Grand Island's Adopt a Road program, where local organizations, businesses or individuals adopt a section of road for a two-year term and commit to keeping it clean. The organization has roughly 600 volunteers cleaning up Grand Island during the 10-day period. The group focuses on the main corridors into Grand Island and city streets that lead to the Nebraska State Fair and Husker Harvest Days show site as well. They concentrate on parks and common areas HHD guests may use while in Grand Island.

Swap Shop offers free goods

Clean Community offices are located within the Betty Curtis Household Hazardous Waste facility located south of the Grand Island airport. They are open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and the first and third Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to noon. The facility takes household items such as fertilizers, pesticides, paint, household cleaning products and automotive products. The exceptions are televisions, large appliances, tires and propane tanks.

Within the building is an area called the Swap Shop. Recycled goods slightly used or new items for the public to reuse are offered free. This prevents such items from being disposed of improperly in the local landfill, or harming the environment. It reopened July 4 with the same COVID-19 restrictions in place. You can read more by visiting



About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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