Waste program expanding
BENTONVILLE — Benton County residents soon will have more recycling options when the county’s convenience center program opens a new site and moves another.
Wendy Bland, director of the Benton County Solid Waste District, said the district and the county are working to open a convenience center in Bella Vista near the recycling center on Pinion Bluff Drive and to move the Rogers center to a transfer station near the Rogers Recycling Center at 2300 N. Arkansas St.
Bland said the district is waiting on a decision from the Bella Vista Planning Commission, which will
decide how much detail the district needs to provide on its site plans.
“Nothing we’re going to have is going to be a permanent structure so we don’t know how much they’re going to want us to do,” Bland said.
She said the district will have a lease with AARP, which operates the recycling center in Bella Vista, so the convenience center can be there after the county does site improvements.
John Sudduth, general services administrator, said initial hopes were the center would open in March, but the timetable has been pushed back.
“We’re waiting on her to get the proper permits,” Sudduth said. “It always takes some time. We really don’t have a projected opening date at this time. It will probably be at least another month.”
The county, working with the district, began a pilot program last year to expand
its convenience center operation from a location near Centerton to sites in Rogers and Siloam Springs to give residents more opportunities to safely dispose of household waste.
The growing volume of waste and recycling material taken to annual cleanup events spurred the expansion. More than 2,700 loads were collected in two cleanup days in 2015. The county discontinued the events last year in favor of the expanded convenience center program. The county budgeted about $161,000 for the program in 2016. That amount is projected to be $199,000 in 2017.
Officials said in September the amount of solid waste brought to the centers already was more than double the amount brought to the 2015 cleanup events. A large number of visitors to the centers were from Bella Vista, according to information gathered by the staff.
Sudduth told the Finance Committee in January the first year of the convenience center operation had been more successful than anticipated. He said the sites reported a total of 11,330 loads of recyclable material dropped off, compared to about 2,700 the county normally received during the cleanup events.
Sudduth also said 13,536 electronics items were brought in, compared with about 5,600 that would have been left at the cleanups.
The number of tires also is higher with more than tires brought to the centers compared to about 1,500 at cleanup events.
Jackie Crabtree, Pea Ridge mayor and chairman of the Solid Waste District’s board, said the use of the convenience centers is likely to grow.
“That first year you spend mostly trying to get the word out to people,” he said.