FAYETTEVILLE – The city is adding more food waste disposal sites in the hope that more residents will participate in the program.
Greater participation can create the ground for waste collection at residential turns for fertilizers.
Three city-owned landfills are the landfill site in 1708 S. Armstrong Ave. and two recycling sites at 1420 S. Happy Hollow Road and 735 W. North St.
Two privately owned locations are Trinity United Methodist Church at 1021 W. Sycamore St. and the Yacht Club food truck portion at 617 N. College Ave.
The city wants to add at least five more dropout sites. Recycling and garbage workers are working with the city’s geographic information system staff to identify parts of the city without collection points so residents have relatively equal remote opportunities, said Brian Pugh, waste reduction coordinator.
The recycling plan the City Council approved in 2017 outlines ways to divert 40% of city waste from landfill by 2027. The diversion rate has moved around 20% in the last 15 years.
The plan eventually recommends taking food waste to the residential turn along with other recyclable items that have already been taken. The plan is to start slowly, Pugh said. If enough residents volunteer to dispose of food waste and learn how to do it correctly, without contaminating organic material, the practice could become more common in the coming years, he said.
Pugh said 18% of Fayetteville waste is food.
“We need to make people realize that there is a possibility that we can do with that material in addition to throwing it away,” he said.
A study used to design the recycling plan found that 66% of the city’s residential waste could be diverted. Recyclable paper and containers accounted for the largest share with 27%, with food waste coming in second with 18% and other potentially recyclable and compostable materials, each accounting for 10% of the total.
The city received a permit from the state in 2017 to process compost fertilizers. Has composted yard waste for years. Several restaurants, public schools, and the University of Arkansas began placing food waste in containers for the city to receive.
Commercial food waste collection trucks had more than 50 participants before the covid-19 pandemic caused closures across the state, Pugh said. The activity resumed as businesses opened their doors, and now the city is back in boosting its food waste program, he said.
Food waste grant
Last year, the city received a $ 73,870 federal grant to promote the collection of residential food waste. The city used the money to buy a trailer to pick up food waste at events such as the Farmers Market and festivals. She also got buckets with lids to give residents free to put in the trash.
The grant also paid for a two-year educator position contracted through the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District to give the floor and help people understand how the program works.
Taylor Gladwin has served in this role. She said the city has provided about 200 buckets in the last two months with several hundred more available.
Importers’s important that people understand why getting food waste from the landfill is important, Gladwin said. The organic material in the landfill decomposes without oxygen and creates methane. Methane is a greenhouse gas that traps heat inside the Earth’s atmosphere and contributes to climate change, she said.
“We’re really hitting two points with composting food waste: keeping it out of the landfill and methane emissions out of the atmosphere,” Gladwin said. His return to the ground after composting brings food waste around full, she said.
Residents can pick up buckets every second and fourth Saturday at the Farmers Market in downtown square, periodically at the Yacht Club section or by calling the Recycling and Fertilizer Division at 575-8398. The bucket has a closed lid, which helps control the wind. Residents are required to provide an email address so the city can inquire about use.
Fruits and vegetables, cauliflower and coffee filters, dairies, breads, eggs, egg shells and paper contaminated with food can all be accepted. Processed foods like pizza, crackers, biscuits and cooked meats are also acceptable. Raw meat is not. Compressible containers can also be processed.
Any kind of plastic or wax cardboard containers cannot be accepted. Fats, oils, fats, non-consumable juices, vegetable oil and fat are also prohibited.
The city recommends dumping waste in food waste containers once a week.
The city offers food waste and yard waste for shopping. A spoonful of compost for food waste, which is about 2.5 cubic yards or the bed of a car, costs $ 35. A spoonful of yard waste is $ 25.
Circular of thinking
The Northwest Arkansas Council released a study last fall outlining ways to achieve a regional, circular economy when it comes to losses. The concept refers to the process of material being recycled and reused, as opposed to a linear economy in which the material is disposed of and discarded.
Food waste is a perfect example of the concept, said Dan Holtmeyer, recycling program manager with the council.
“It can come from local food that is grown and sold and eaten here,” he said. “Then the corn cobs and whatever leftovers from them can be composted and sold back to farmers. So it’s a perfect loop.”
Processing food waste for garbage frees up landfill space and reduces the burden of transporting garbage trucks, Holtmeyer said. Cities are charged based on the tonnage of material obtained at the landfill.
Holtmeyer said he was unaware of an organized, regional effort to get cities to adopt food waste programs. Fayetteville can serve as an example to others by showing the benefits of adopting such a program, he said.
The city hopes to collect 800 tonnes of food waste by the end of the year, which is possible if residents bring enough waste, Pugh said. It collected 380 tons in the first six months of this year.
Thirty-four businesses and schools participate in the food waste program. Some were missing because of the pandemic, Pugh said. The city applied for another federal grant to cover the cost of the meeting to bring more schools on board. The city is also looking for more businesses with lots of food waste to join, he said.
Taylor Gladwin (from left) and Heather Ellzey, both environmental educators for the city of Fayetteville, hand over a bin and food waste collection information on Saturday, July 24, 2021, to Liz Greene of Fayetteville and her children Abram Greene, 6 and Amelia Greene, 11, at the Fayetteville Farmers Market. The city is encouraging residents to throw away food waste to turn into garbage. Residents can dump food waste between five locations in the city or on mobile trailers at the Farmers Market every second and fourth Saturday. Visit nwaonline.com/210725D Daily / for today’s photo gallery. (NWA Democrat-Gazette / Andy Shupe)
According to the numbers
Fayetteville launched a food waste pilot program in 2016. The city had to stop collection in 2017 while obtaining a permit from the state to process food waste fertilizers. The collection has increased every year since then.
• 2016: 137 tons
• 2017: 38 tons
• 2018: 128 tons
• 2019: 479 tons
• 2020: 608 tons
• The first half of 2021 – 380 tons
For more information on the city’s food waste program, go to:
To watch a video explaining the program, go to: