(Editor's Note: Each year, Arkansas Business partners with the Arkansas Municipal League to present the Trendsetter City awards, which recognize exceptional initiatives underway in municipalities across the state. Large, medium and small-sized cities were honored in six categories: Diversity and Inclusion; Education/Workforce Development; Infrastructure and Water; Public Works/Environmental and Green Management; Technology and Security; and Tourism Development/Creative Culture. Below is one winner's story. For more, click here.)
Publics Works/Environmental and Green Management
Honorable Mention • 5,000-20,000
Mayor: Mike Robertson
Beebe city workers were spending much of their time picking up piles of limbs for the wood chipper and vacuuming up wet leaves, with the wet wood often having to be transported and spread. Heavy regulations, permitting and reporting processes imposed on municipal yard waste operations by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) limited the city’s options, yet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined natural wood waste accounts for more than 20% of all waste.
Air Curtain Burners are used on military bases, by national parks, and by federal entities to reduce fire hazards and to destroy contraband.
Open burning of yard waste comes with many local nuisance and fire hazard complaints and challenges. Through the federal government’s Cooperative Purchasing Program, the city of Beebe avoided the bidding process, saving time and money, to purchase an Air Curtain Burner, or Fire Box. Taking up the same space as a shipping container and operated by one employee, the burner creates a curtain of air to trap smoke particles and can burn 10 tons of waste in an hour, saving money and time while protecting the environment and reducing the carbon footprint.