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Northwest Arkansas processed more than 41,000 tons of material in 2021

Last year, the Northwest Arkansas area recycled more than 41,000 tons of materials including aluminum cans, cardboard and more.

WASHINGTON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark — According to a new report from the Northwest Arkansas Council, Northwest Arkansas recycled more than 41,000 tons of material in 2021. 

The report by the Council’s NWA Recycles program is the first to tally collections from the Benton County, Boston Mountain Solid Waste Districts and from a dozen cities with public recycling programs. The 41,000 tons included collections of aluminum cans, cardboard, used tires, electronics and food and yard waste, all of which can be recycled and reused in some way. 

“Recycling programs across the region take great care to safely collect recyclables, conserve natural resources and put these materials back to use, including by businesses right here in Northwest Arkansas,” said Dan Holtmeyer, the Council’s recycling program manager. “This report gives a thorough accounting of the programs’ collective efforts to keep more waste out of landfills.”

The programs tallied include E-Waste Warriors, a volunteer group of Rogers High School students that collected five tons of old electronics and the City of Fayetteville, which collected more than 13,000 tons in its recycling and composting programs. 

Among the report’s findings, the region in 2021 recycled:

  • 300 tons of electronic waste.
  • 1,000 tons of aluminum, steel and other scrap metal.
  • 1,000 tons of glass bottles and jars.
  • 9,000 tons of yard and food waste for composting.
  • 14,000 tons of cardboard and paper.

The council says those figures in reality are higher, since many community programs don’t track the weights of specific materials.

NWA Recycles is a joint effort by the Northwest Arkansas Council, Benton County and Boston Mountain solid waste districts that launched last year with support from Walmart. The program's goal is to coordinate and improve local recycling services, which has become a major priority for the growing Northwest Arkansas region. 

The council also conducted a public infrastructure survey earlier this year which found more than 80% of respondents think more recycling is important to the area’s future and are willing to recycle more in their daily lives.

The annual report is the first in an ongoing effort that will hopefully improve over time, by including more data from private, and commercial recycling that is not accounted for in public programs, as well as more information about non-recyclable materials captured by recycling programs. 

NWA Recycles says it will continue working with the waste districts and other stakeholders to help strengthen local programs and their available data.

To learn more about community recycling programs, click here.

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