Bucket List

Have you ever looked back at your first attempt at doing something? If you’re like me, I tend to focus on how badlythat first effort went.  What was I thinking …or better yet, what wasn’t I thinking?!

But on the flip side, consider all those things you are good at in life.  As Malcolm Gladwell tells it, the rule goes like this: it takes 10,000 hours of intense practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials.  If you’re among those who’ve enjoyed the benefit of circling the sun as many times as have I, you’ve probably acquired several skills with 10,000 hours invested.  You just need to remember whatever that skill is, it started developing with that first hour.  And even if your first attempt wasn’t your best effort, you had to start somewhere to get to the point you’re at today.

In 2018, several people expressed their desire to partner with Food Loops to collect food waste on a residential level—as in from their homes. Prior to that, we’d only been engaged at the business/corporate level, but based on the feedback we were getting, we launched our residential program that summer.

For the EDLP of $10/month, we offered a shiny, new, red 5-gallon bucket to folks who signed up online to collecttheir food waste at home.  In turn, they would bring their full bucket to either the Bentonville or Rogers farmers market each Saturday & swap it out for a clean one. Theprogram not only provided people a simple way to participate in diverting food waste at home, it also led to a better understanding of just how much food waste exists on the residential level as well as elsewhere.

The program opened so many doors for us.  For example, we were introduced to Harp’s through this program, where today, Food Recycling Solutions partners with local Harps stores collecting their organic waste, ultimately divertingcountless tons from ending up in the local Fayetteville landfill.  

As impressive as that is, as mentioned up top, we also encountered several, shall we say hiccups, with that initialprogram.  First and foremost, as great a place to get the program launched as they were, farmers markets aren’t open year-round.  Second, we were also limited in that we were only able to serve Bentonville & Rogers customers for the most part. And third, it was very labor intensive to collect, clean, and disinfect the hundreds of buckets we were soon seeing being returned each week.

As they say—fast forwarding to today, the program has evolved.  Our monthly subscription fee has gone down from $10 to $5/month.  And rather than being dependent on the farmers market calendar, we now have 6 central drop off locations, 2 each in Bentonville, Rogers and Springdale that are open 24/7 year round. But wait! There’s more! For an additional $5/month, in partnership with Epic Glass, we now also offer glass drop off at the same 6 locations.

Aside from the logistical changes, the other major difference from the original program is we now offer compostable liners at all the drop off sites, so now after customers dump the contents into the collection sitecontainers, they grab a new liner & off they go keeping their same 5-gallon bucket.  Might I add not a minute’s gone by I’ve missed hauling and washing all those buckets. There were days I considered reaching out to Mike Rowe to feature Food Loops on his dirty jobs show based on that one task alone!     

But just when you think a good idea can’t evolve any further, our third & latest bite of this apple comes as Food Loops now offers food waste and glass pickup at your workplace.  Be it a 5 person office or a 500 person office, think of the ease this would provide when it comes to food waste collection. If you’re interested in participating, or just want to get a better idea of what the program entails,give me a call at 479-621-5642 and I’d be happy to walk you through it.  

We still have a long way to go, but whether on the residential or corporate level, looking at new ways to make recycling easier through expanded accessibility remains paramount. We know our first attempts will oftenleave much to be desired. But hey, we’re grateful to have the greatest customers who know we’re not always perfectright out of the gate.  Good news is they also know we listen. Let us listen to you & how we can help make your home and/or workplace more sustainable.