Metro Nashville Public Works plans to increase curbside recycling by early 2020

By early 2020, city officials said Metro Nashville Public Works will increase its curbside recycling to every two weeks instead of once per month.

Nashville Mayor David Briley announced in April two public and private grants totaling $2.8 million will help make the expansion of the MNPW recycling program possible.

“A lot of people have been asking for (increased service) for a long time,” Briley said. “That’s because people know it’s good for sustainability, it’s good for the economy and it’s important for our city to lead the region in that regard.”

The grants—$2.3 million from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, and $506,000 from nonprofit The Recycling Partnership and beauty brand Love Beauty and Planet—will fund 16 additional collection vehicles and provide 8,000 more recycling carts for residents.

The Recycling Partnership will also implement an educational outreach campaign on how to participate in curbside recycling.

Every household that currently receives curbside recycling will see an increase in pickup, according to MNPW Assistant Director Sharon Smith. The MNPW curbside recycling program is provided to single-family homes in Metro Nashville’s urban services district, a coverage area that excludes the outermost areas of the county and satellite cities.

“This investment not only shows Nashville’s dedication to the environment, but also to our neighborhoods and assuring that our neighborhoods are livable and have sustainable programs like recycling that people can develop a habit around,” Smith said.

Residents who participate in the program can recycle plastic bottles and containers, aluminum and metal cans, paper and broken down boxes. Glass products, while prohibited in curbside recycling, can be dropped off at all four recycling convenience centers and most of Metro Nashville’s 12 recycling facilities.

TDEC Deputy Commissioner Greg Young said the grants will help Metro Nashville maintain a steady supply of clean recovered materials. During fiscal year 2017-18, Nashville recycled 25 percent of overall waste according to MNPW.

“Our mission is really to protect, improve and promote health and environmental quality throughout the state,” Young said. “One way we carry this out is providing these types of grants to encourage reduction of landfill waste and reuse of recovered materials.”

Both Young and Briley cited Middle Point Landfill, a Rutherford County landfill expected to run out of space within the next few years, as one of the reasons to increase its recycling efforts.

“In Middle Tennessee right now, we have a critical point where the Middle Point landfill in Rutherford County is not going to have room for very long,” Briley said. “Even if you didn’t know inherently [that] it’s good to recycle, you should know we’re running out of space in our landfill.”