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The nonprofit Downtown Springdale Alliance has partnered with local company Food Loops, the city of Springdale and the Tyson Family Foundation to make composting an everyday experience in downtown dining.

The new program helps provide restaurants and bars in the Downtown Outdoor Dining District with 100% compostable to-go cups and installed dedicated, cylindrical receptacles for the cups on every trash can in the downtown outdoor dining district.

The ball started rolling last year with a smaller pilot program that collected more than 800 pounds of cups for composting, keeping them out of the region’s landfill in Tontitown. Now the effort covers the entire outdoor dining district and includes new signage and a digital outreach campaign. The receptacles were designed by Springdale Senior Planner Rick Barry and Jeffro Brown, a Downtown Springdale Alliance board member and owner of Odd Soul.

The program is another example of the regional, multi-layered connections that ultimately make it possible to reduce waste and conserve resources. Food Loops is based in Rogers and focuses on providing event composting and recycling collection services in Northwest Arkansas and beyond, including by selling certified compostable cups, cutlery and similar dining supplies. These items aren’t meant for a backyard compost pile, but they will break down into garden-ready organic material in an industrial-scale composting facility — which the city of Fayetteville provides. And downtown Springdale businesses like Black Apple Hard Cider, an early leader in reducing its waste, helped spark the needed interest for a broader initiative.

“Downtown Springdale is committed to activating our downtown spaces and creating outdoor experiences for the community. This partnership with Food Loops enables us to do this in a sustainable way and bring greater attention to the value and ease of composting within the district,” Jill Dabbs, executive director of Downtown Springdale Alliance, said in June.

There’s a lot to love about this program — it diverts waste from the landfill, stretching out that facility’s usefulness, while also supporting local composting organizations and making composting an easy and convenient decision. Be sure to use those cup receptacles next time you visit the area.