Conway Setting a Green Example

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 12:00 am  

Conway’s recycling center features an automated sorting system that is one of the most sophisticated in the region.

The addition of plastic grocery bags and department store sacks to the recycling programs, as well as textiles such as bedding and towels, as well as the addition of Styrofoam to the list of co-mingled recyclables.

Conway has teamed with the Faulkner County Solid Waste District to offer free electronics recycling to all residents of the county. At its first electronics recycling event, Conway’s sanitation department collected more than 150,000 tons of electronics waste for recycling, collected from local residents, schools and businesses.

Weekly curbside recycling services are free in Conway, and all yard waste is recycled into nursery-quality mulch available to the public at no charge. “This is a true example of an in-house project by the department to ‘close the loop’ of recycling materials, and benefits all residents who take advantage of this service,” Howard said.

A household hazardous waste (HHW) reuse center operated by the city properly disposes of items like paint, pesticides, fertilizer and cleaning agents. Conway residents can drop off such materials at the center as well as pick up materials no longer needed in some households but desired in others.

Conway offers free educational programs and free business waste audits. Annually, roughly 7,000 people – students, residents, delegates from neighboring towns – tour the city’s sanitation and recycling facilities. In addition, the department offers a waste audit service to area businesses where city professionals help determine just what can be recycled.

The city works with local schools to implement campus recycling programs. Conway public schools, St. Joseph Catholic School and Conway Christian School all have added recycling bins in classrooms and cafeterias. The recycling program in the Conway School District has been recognized statewide by the Keep Arkansas Beautiful organization and the Arkansas Recycling Coalition as a model program. Howard said the department provides free recycling receptacles for any school classroom, breakroom or cafeteria as well as outdoor receptacles, and facilitates classroom recycling education programs.

Conway has increased efficiency in operational practices, and it has dramatically increased the life expectancy of its landfill as well. Five years ago, the city began using a 3 ML liner to cover the landfill rather than using the traditional method of covering it with dirt. The transition resulted in the life expectancy of the fill remaining the same rather than decreasing. Ultimately, a new landfill will have to be constructed, but, Howard said, “The longer we can preserve the life of the landfill, the more our community will financially benefit from its use.”



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