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Mall of America Celebrates Earth Day Every Day

Updated: 04/22/2014 9:27 AM
Created: 04/22/2014 8:31 AM KSTP.com
By: Steve Patterson

When you think of Mall of America, you probably think of the stores, the lights and the rides. But there's more to the mall than meets the eye. The belly of the beast is down below it all; the basement is where a bunch of guys get psyched up about cleaning up. Down there, they find a second use for just about everything.

Leftover fryer fat from restaurants gets turned into 100 percent bio-diesel; they run maintenance vehicles off of fat from curly fries. They also turn it into a high-powered floor degreaser that they use in their scrubbing machines to clean the concrete floors.

As for your more rudimentary forms of recycling, they do that, too -- more than 11,000 tons each year. Crews say the reason you don't see green recycling bins in the mall is because people often misuse recycling for trash. Instead, they sort out their recycling by hand, one item at a time.

And that food you didn't finish the last time you ate in the food court gets a second use, too. As many as 2,400 tons of food waste annually gets re-cooked and served to a group with a not-so-sophisticated palate: hogs.

From fryer fat to pig slop, these are just a few ways the biggest mall in the country goes green, not just on Earth Day, but every day.

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