Northwest Arkansas residents can learn about how to recycle better using a new collaborative tool developed by the Northwest Arkansas Council with the help of area cities and solid waste districts.
The website — NWARecycles.org — is the region’s online hub for information about curbside recycling, drop-off centers and other aspects of recycling across more than two dozen cities in Benton, Washington and Madison counties.
The NWA Recycles website includes reports on the local recycling systems, information on why recycling is worthwhile, and a blog with the latest local recycling news and events.
“The rules of recycling often change between and even within cities, and they can shift over time,” said Dan Holtmeyer, the Council’s recycling program manager. “With our partners’ input and assistance over the last several weeks, we’ve created a user-friendly roadmap to navigate those changes.”
The Northwest Arkansas Council is working to advance recycling across Northwest Arkansas in an effort to foster collaboration, transparency and public outreach to increase public participation and reduce recycling contamination. The program is supported by Walmart in partnership with the Benton County and Boston Mountain solid waste districts.
“By improving recycling, Northwest Arkansas communities can help preserve limited landfill space and conserve natural resources, among other benefits,” said Rachel Spencer, senior manager for Walmart.org. “NWA Recycles is one more step on the road to a more sustainable and circular economy for the region, and we’re proud to support this program.”
Input from the community informed the development of the program. Northwest Arkansas residents want more consistency in regional recycling programs as individuals often experience one set of rules when they recycle at home and far different rules when they recycle at work, schools and other venues.
In 2020, the Council worked with The Sustainability Consortium to study the region’s circular economy and recycling infrastructure. Many of the recommendations in the study suggested the cities and solid waste districts should do more work collectively.
“Through our partnership with the Northwest Arkansas Council, we were able to determine that there is a lot of successful recycling happening in Northwest Arkansas,” said Sarah Lewis, senior director of innovation for The Sustainability Consortium. “We also found that by creating a shared vision for circularity, by building transparency and consistency in data, and by improving coordination of current activities and infrastructure across communities, the Northwest Arkansas region has the potential to establish itself as a leader in recycling and circularity as a whole.”
NWA Recycles takes a wide-ranging perspective on recycling. The website includes information on recyclable commodities such as plastic bottles and aluminum cans, the materials that go in a typical recycling bin or cart. But there is also information about yard waste, which is generally composted or otherwise reused, as well as electronics, household chemicals and other forms of waste that can be recycled in a variety of ways.
Learn more at NWARecycles.org.