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Two Northwest Arkansas schools are partnering with NWA Recycles to reduce the flow of recyclable materials into landfills.

NWA Recycles, a program of the Northwest Arkansas Council, is supporting an effort to have food waste at Arkansas Arts Academy in Rogers and Turnbow Elementary School in Springdale turned into compost for one year. Food Recycling Solutions, a Rogers company, collects the food waste at least weekly and delivers it to the city of Fayetteville’s compost operation.

The recycling at the schools started in early April.

“We want to demonstrate to schools that collecting food waste and the Core 4 is affordable and achievable, and we know there’s high interest among school districts in being good environmental stewards,” said Lee Chalmers, recycling coordinator for NWA Recycles. “Keeping these materials out of the waste stream can make a measurable impact that will reduce what’s going to landfills.

Arkansas Arts Academy and Turnbow Elementary agreed their next step is to collect what are known as “the Core 4,” a group of recyclable items that include aluminum cans, plastic bottles and jugs, paper and cardboard. The schools will gather the materials, measure how much was collected, report information to NWA Recycles and to deliver the materials to a recycling facility.

“These schools should see a reduction in the cost of trash disposal because they’ll be throwing away less.”

The hope is that the participating schools will implement recycling on a permanent basis.

NWA Recycles hopes to add additional school partners in Benton and Washington counties to capture food waste and other recyclable items. Interested school leaders should contact Chalmers at lee@nwacouncil.org.