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Northwest Arkansas officially has a common vision that will guide recyclers’ work over the coming years.

The board of the Boston Mountain Solid Waste District, which licenses waste hauling and runs several recycling programs around Washington and Madison counties, earlier today approved a resolution supporting the vision document. The vote comes a few months after Benton County Solid Waste District did the same.

The vision statement reads:

The Benton County Regional Solid Waste Management District, Boston Mountain Regional Solid Waste Management District and Northwest Arkansas Council embrace the recycling and circular movement of valuable recovered materials as a critical component in its sustainable economic development and environmental protection. Over the next several years, these organizations and their community partners will facilitate and grow a circular economy that captures more recyclable materials, supports local jobs and communities, conserves crucial landfill space, and aligns with the region’s culture of innovation, pragmatism and safeguarding our natural resources.

The rest of the vision details how it’ll be implemented, laying out such goals as helping cities adopt best practices in their waste hauling contracts, fostering more frequent and consistent communication between recycling programs and their public, setting region-wide recycling targets, and helping recycling services reach more people. You can read the full document here.

Why does this matter? It’s a shared roadmap for dozens of area recycling programs that most often work alone rather than as a whole. It’s the product of months of discussion and haggling among those programs about what they all hope to achieve together. It’ll specifically guide the work of the NWA Recycles program, which fills the role of regional convener and coordinator. It holds recyclers accountable with a year-by-year timeline. And, to put it simply, there’s never been a regional recycling vision quite like this before in Northwest Arkansas.

This is a straightforward but important step, in other words, that will make a difference for years to come.