Minnesota Pollution Control Agency sets a new Guinness World Record

Contact: Taylor Holland, 651-757-2385

St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is now a Guinness World Records title holder, having successfully set a record for the largest paper ball.

Confirmation of the record arrived from Guinness this week. The official size of the massive paper ball was documented as 9 feet 7 inches tall, 32.2 feet in circumference and 426 pounds. In line with Guinness World Records guidelines, no adhesive, glue or tape was used to create the ball.

The Guinness World Record, dubbed the largest wad of paper, was on display at the Eco Experience building during the Minnesota State Fair. The giant wad of paper was a visual representation of how much potentially recyclable paper Minnesotans throw in the garbage every 30 seconds. "We really wanted to bring attention to the economic and environmental value of recycling,” says Wayne Gjerde, recycling market development coordinator at the MPCA.

Many Minnesota businesses rely on recycled paper for making a variety of products such as insulation, ceiling tiles, cardboard, milk cartons, juice boxes, and, of course, paper. These paper-product manufacturers often can’t get enough wastepaper in-state to meet demand, so they have to buy post-consumer paper from other states.

“Eureka Recycling, a metro area recycler, donated the recycled paper for the project,” says Jeanne Giernet with the MPCA. “With the help of several volunteers, it took a day and a half to construct the wad of paper.”

Unlike the largest ball of twine on display in Darwin, Minn., the paper ball won’t be on display. “We recycled it.” said Giernet. “After the fair, we rolled it out of the building and brought it to Rock Tenn in St. Paul for recycling.” Rock Tenn used the recycled paper to produce liner board, used to make packaging such as cereal or food boxes.

The MPCA came up with the idea to create the world’s largest paper ball to encourage residents to recycle, noting last year’s waste characterization report showed that 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.

“RockTenn in St. Paul uses 1,000 tons of recycled paper a day to make box paper for General Mills and others,” said Gjerde “Liberty Paper in Becker brings in 500 tons of paper a day. New Page in Duluth brings in about 400 tons a day. The 1 billion pounds of paper Minnesotans throw away could generate nearly $34 million a year to those Minnesota companies.”

  • A video showing the creation of the wad of paper is available on the MPCA's YouTube channel.
  • Photos of the process and finished product are available on Flickr.