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Northwest Arkansas’ growing entrepreneurial community could help solve some of the region’s biggest frustrations with recycling, including inconvenience, long lists of items that can’t be recycled and a shortfall in public knowledge and trust.

An upcoming event aims to jumpstart the process by spotlighting local waste-related businesses and awarding thousands of dollars to new ideas that waste less and recycle more.

NWA Recycles, an initiative of the Northwest Arkansas Council, invites the public to attend “Rethinking Trash,” a free, half-day showcase on Friday, April 21, to learn more about the unmet needs and untapped potential in the things the region throws away. The event will take place at the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks and feature three segments:

“At every step of recycling, from collecting to moving to reusing, a dash of entrepreneurial thinking would go a long way toward making the process work better for everyone,” said Dan Holtmeyer, recycling program manager for the Council.

“But local entrepreneurs and recyclers are often two non-overlapping circles,” he said. “My goal is to change that, bring attention to entrepreneurs who have bridged the gap and inspire others to follow their lead.”

Entrepreneurs with an idea for the pitch contest can apply online until April 5. For all others interested in attending the event, please register through Eventbrite.

“Convening seemingly disparate groups and finding ways to accomplish shared goals is one of the Council’s chief strengths,” said Nelson Peacock, Council president and CEO. “Recycling is one of many essential tools for improving Northwest Arkansas’ quality of life and fostering a strong and circular economy today and into the future.”

Special thanks to our major investors for their support of the Northwest Arkansas Council and our work in the region: