fbpx Skip to main content

Northwest Arkansas puts on some of the best concerts, festivals, and fairs in the state, but many of those events miss the mark when it comes to recycling.

That’s one of the reasons NWA Recycles is on a quest this year to show how easily recycling can be incorporated into planning, regardless of event size and scale.

To demonstrate what’s possible, NWA Recycles established a partnership with the Springdale Benevolent Foundation, the organization behind Rodeo of the Ozarks and other community events at Parsons Stadium in Springdale.

The Council connected the foundation with Food Loops, a local company focused on food waste recycling and zero-waste events. The foundation engaged Food Loops to handle all aspects of recycling at a May 2024 demolition derby.

NWA Recycles documented the experience and learned the Food Loops team collected approximately 700 pounds of recyclable materials, including aluminum cans, plastic bottles, cardboard and food waste. Because of the partnership with NWA Recycles and Food Loops, these materials were rerouted away from the landfill and were either recycled or composted. The derby is now a case study on successful event recycling in NWA.

What’s the lesson? If recycling can happen at the demolition derby with its crashing cars, roaring engines and more than 3,000 attendees, it can be successfully incorporated into every Northwest Arkansas event.

From NWA Recycles’ conversations with derby attendees, we learned most loved knowing that events are doing their part to keep recyclables from reaching landfills.

A 2023 survey by The Recycling Partnership showed most Americans see recycling as a positive. This supports the notion that recycling is valued, and it is achievable with a little additional planning for events large and small.

While one option is to hire a company such as Food Loops, events planners can also dedicate a team of volunteers focused on a grassroots approach to capturing the recyclables.

Event organizers or anyone interested in better understanding how recycling can become part of their event can turn to the event recycling toolkit on the NWA Recycles website.