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AARP Chapter Recycles Trash into $1 Million

Mature woman tying newspaper, close-up

— Cultura/Getty Images

Bella Vista Recycling is a non-profit organization operated by volunteers, who gather, process and sell donated recyclable waste materials. The goal is to keep these materials out of area landfills, put them back into use, save energy and enhance our environment by keeping it clean. The nonprofit operates as a community service of AARP Arkansas Chapter 109.

As early as 1973, a group of AARP volunteers began picking up newspapers bundling them and taking them to Rogers Arkansas and selling them. With the proceeds, the AARP Chapter furnished coffee and cookies at their regular monthly meetings.

As the village of Bella Vista grew, so did the Recycling efforts. Members of the Chapter were able to secure an improved site for the recycling operation. This site contained one vertical press that was used to bale both cardboard and newspaper.

The population of Bella Vista has grown from 9,000 in 1990 to over 24,000. With the growth of the population, it became apparent that the small recycle facility could never handle the volume of product that was being dropped off. A new larger recycle facility was secured with better equipment.

So far this year 2.7 million pounds of materials have been recycled that otherwise would have ended up in landfills.

This has been a great year for Vista Recycling. It has generated more than $207,000 in proceeds, which are distributed to local nonprofit originations. Since 2005, the members have given more than $1 million to their community.

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