Nashville’s curbside recycling program took a significant step toward efficiency in the last year, reducing the recyclable contamination rate by more than one-third. Last year, 46% of items in recycling carts were too dirty or could not be recycled, according to Metro’s annual curbside recycling audit. According to this year’s audit, Nashville’s recycling contamination rate is 28%. “Huge strides have been made over the last 12 months,” said Sharon Smith, special projects manager at Metro Waste Services.
Less contamination in recycling carts means that fewer tax dollars must be spent separating clean recyclables from items that cannot be recycled. “This is great news, not only for the environment but also because it means the city and its residents are saving money on processing recycling,” said Metro Water Services Director Scott Potter.
The 17.6-point drop in contamination rate means Nashville is now much closer to the national average. That reduction comes thanks to outreach and education Metro’s recycling team has undertaken in the last year. Earlier this year, Waste Services launched an app called the “Waste Wizard” as a user-friendly, searchable resource to the public on what items can and cannot be recycled in Nashville.