Citizens in Fayetteville, Arkansas Protect Curb Sort Recycling from Single Stream Recycling

Date: 3 Mar 2017 | posted in: waste - recycling, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Hats off to Louise G. Mann, of Waste Reduction Resources and a network of Fayetteville, AR concerned citizens. On Tuesday, Feb. 21 Fayetteville City Council approved a resolution to move ahead with composting at commercial establishments, as well as recycling of construction & demolition waste.

Thanks to Mann and vocal citizens, the City Council put on hold a switch from residential (and limited business) curb sort collection to single stream collection of recyclables. The latter approach would centralize control over recycling in the Northwest Arkansas region by requiring materials to be collected in single compartment trucks. Sorting of the mixed recyclables would be done at a regional facility.

The switch could mean individual community loss of control over recycling with a single stream contractor making such demands as excluding certain items from the collection process. Jobs in each city and access to markets could also be sacrificed. The quality of materials recovered would also be sacrificed. There would be capital expense for new trucks, new carts and the regional facility,

The City Council action put on hold the single stream recommendation from a consultant who had been hired to justify it. Local activists are continuing to encourage the council to keep Fayetteville recycling clean and marketable, by enhancing and improving the traditional curb sort program.

Mann states: “About Single Stream, the council has put it on hold for the immediate future. It is still very much on the table. I will continue to release information about single stream. And I am seeking out of state legal counsel as I want to raise the single stream discussion to a higher level.”

Mann has spent more than sixteen months and almost $15,000 hosting Trash Class, speaking at public meetings, creating and running ads in local and on line publications, as well as writing monthly letters to the editor of the regional newspaper. The Container Recycling Institute and ILSR provided insight and data to citizens, who in turn presented counter arguments to single stream recycling to the City Council. Mann’s legal council provided the city attorney with a draft resolution that the city tweaked and adopted.

Mann’s goal is to see communities nation-wide reclaim and clean up their recycling programs. Mann concludes, “Allowing a garbage hauling company total control of your recyclable resources is like allowing a moving company to tell you which items you will be allowed to remove from your home, where they will go, and in what shape they will arrive.”

According to Cullet Comparisons, a recent study by the Container Recycling Institute:

Fayetteville has one of the highest per capita glass recovery rates in the country. Ripple Glass of Kansas City is able to process it and send it to Owens Corning to be made into fiberglass insulation creating jobs and added value to the local economy.

Photo Credit: Brandon Rush via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0).

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Neil Seldman

Neil Seldman, Ph.D, directs the Waste to Wealth Initiative. He specializes in helping cities and businesses recover increasing amounts of materials from the waste stream and add value to the local economy through new processing and manufacturing facilities. He is a co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance.