February 4, 2015 Edition

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WR Recycle Committee
plans for future


Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge Recycle Committee met Jan. 27 to discuss the future recycle, waste and disposal programs.

"This is a new committee, but one the city needs," Mayor Charles Snapp said. "Recycling is the obvious way to provide a healthier environment for our children, and a well-managed recycling program will also save the city money. I'm excited about the volunteers on the recycling committee, who provide their insight and direction for my administration.

Committee members are Jerry Gibbens, Allen McEntire, Jon Walters and Chair John Householder.

"The overall scope of the Recycle Committee is to encourage residents to recycle or dispose of waste properly in a manner that is not only good for the environment, but city and community beautification and revitalization," Householder said.

The main focus of the meeting was how to manage limb, grass and leaf collection.

Collection of these materials was temporarily halted earlier in the year by Snapp. He said the decision was made due to irresponsible use of city resources and out of compliance disposal methods.

In the past, city workers have collected the material and disposed of it through burning, which is not approved by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality guidelines.

However, Walnut Ridge is eligible for a free compost permit that would allow them to compost up to 50 tons a year. Sharon Henson, city administrative assistant, is working on the application.

Once approved, disposal of the biodegradable material can commence and within a few years, residents can take advantage of the composted material.

With the permit in hand, the city will start a pick-up route and run it every couple of weeks or as needed based on the season. An updated chart will be kept at City Hall and residents can email addresses where pickup is needed to WRCityHall@att.net or call them in at 886-6638.

The committee also discussed the disposal of non-biodegradable waste by residents via the dumpster located at the city shop.

Householder noted that this has been an expensive venture for the city in recent years, to the point the dumpster was removed and discontinued for a period of time.

The committee discussed having a dumpster for limited residential use only. It was proposed that residents have the opportunity to dump a reasonable load of accepted material up to two times per year before being charged for additional loads. The city would also coordinate timely removal of acceptable material from residents unable to haul to the dumpster.

Concerns about how to monitor the dumpster were discussed but no decision was made. The committee tabled the matter for a future meeting.

Moving forward, Householder wants to encourage residents to use the white recycle dumpster located off of Main Street (next to the old Fire Station) for recycling metals, plastics and paper.

"A greater use of this facility would prove positive for our environment, allow for the reuse of these materials and keep unnecessary waste out of our landfill."

Householder also said that a major goal for the committee is to acquire the grant funding necessary to invest in a city recycling truck that could pick up recyclable materials from residents' homes. He said it is still a couple of years away but the committee will continue to work toward that goal.

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