- Nashville, Tennessee, will begin every-other-week curbside recycling collection come Jan. 30, increasing frequency from once per month. The schedule overhaul for 141,000 households will cost $4.8 million.
- The Recycling Partnership and American Beverage’s Every Bottle Back initiative are contributing $141,000 for education materials for residents, the organizations detailed in a press release Tuesday.
- A spokesperson for Metro Water Services, which houses Nashville’s waste services division, said this change didn’t happen sooner as recycling crews were having to help cover trash collection last year amid challenges with contractors. One contractor, Red River Waste Solutions, was going through bankruptcy proceedings before being sold.
Nashville is among the nation’s fastest-growing metro areas. It’s also been on the Recycling Partnership’s list of large cities with the greatest untapped opportunities to improve material collection. The Partnership ultimately prioritized the area given its status as Tennessee’s largest city and the largest U.S. community with monthly recycling collection that could see substantial gains by transitioning to every-other-week collection.
City crews will handle the uptick and related vehicle and labor resources have already been acquired. The Partnership expects the change in collection frequency to generate 156 million new pounds of recyclables over the next decade. Every Bottle Back launched in 2019 to improve collection of materials that could remake old bottles into new ones. Recent beneficiaries of funds for education and carts include communities in Iowa and Michigan. Remaining funds for Nashville’s expansion will come from the local budget and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County’s zero waste plan from 2019 calls for eventually diverting 90% of Nashville’s waste from landfills, in an area where over 80% of waste has been landfilled. And the state’s environment department reports Tennessee residents generate nearly 32% more waste on average than other Americans.
The previous mayor also sought to make the move to biweekly but that effort was put on hold amid 2020 budget constraints, The Tennessean reported. The latest proposed increase came during fiscal year 2021.
“Since Waste Services joined MWS a year and a half ago, we have been working towards stabilizing trash service and providing our residents with increased recycling collection services,” Mayor John Cooper said in a city announcement last week. “Going from once a month to every other week recycling pick up not only meets our resident’s needs, but it also aligns us with our peer cities, is a win for Nashville’s Zero Waste Master Plan, and moves us towards a more sustainable Nashville.”