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The city of Fayetteville won national recognition this week for its recycling and composting operations.

Resource Recycling Inc., which runs several recycling publications, national conferences and industry trade shows, named Fayetteville its 2022 Program of the Year among cities under 150,000 residents. (Washington, D.C., snagged the honor for cities above that size.)

The organization credited Fayetteville’s win in large part to its residential food waste program, which gives out hundreds of free collection buckets and provides several drop-off points around town. Those collections, along with kitchen scraps picked up from multiple restaurants and dining halls, are combined with yard waste at the city’s compost facility, the only industrial-scale compost operation in Northwest Arkansas.

Besides food waste, Fayetteville’s city-run recycling program is also among the region’s most extensive, including:

  • Residential curbside service for cans, bottles, boxes and paper.
  • Drop-off centers for a variety of items, including a partnership with Boston Mountain Solid Waste District for household hazardous waste and electronics.
  • Discounted recycling programs for businesses and apartment complexes.
  • And staff educators who reach out to schools, the farmers market and other organizations throughout the city.

Altogether the city in 2021 diverted almost 14,000 tons from the landfill through recycling, composting and other efforts, the most of any one program in the area. Fayetteville’s about halfway toward its goal of 40% waste diversion by 2027.

“We have a lot of really awesome programs that we’re really excited to be able to offer our residents, to help with our city’s waste-diversion goals,” Heather Ellzey, a city environmental educator, told Resource Recycling.

That’s a lot of hard work, and it’s paying off in the form of a transparent, trustworthy, far-reaching and growing program. Congratulations, Fayetteville!