On October 23, 2023, Mayor Freddie O’Connell joined Metro Waste Services staff in launching a one-year pilot curbside Food Scraps Pickup program to learn how Metro can help residents reduce food waste going to landfill. As of the end of November, the Food Scraps Pickup Program collected over 12 tons of food scraps and other compostable material. That is the equivalent of 6 adult giraffes worth of food waste that has been sent for composting instead of landfill in just five weeks.

“The early returns from our food scraps pickup program show the potential we have for reducing waste in our landfills,” Mayor Freddie O’Connell said. “The 200 pilot participants saved 12 tons of scraps, and I am excited to see how much of an impact this program can have once we expand it city-wide.”

The early success of this program is an exciting step towards achieving Nashville’s Zero Waste Master Plan, which aims to reduce our reliance on landfill disposal for waste. Food waste makes up about 25% of what Nashville currently throws away, making it a top priority to achieve zero waste, which is defined in the Plan as reducing all waste to landfill by 90% by 2050.

Food waste is also a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in landfills. When landfilled, food scraps do not naturally decompose, creating methane gas. By naturally composting food scraps instead of landfilling them, the material collected in the Pilot is turned into a nutrient compost that can be put back into and improve middle Tennessee soils.

Over the year-long pilot program, Metro Waste Services’ staff will be collecting and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data from the 750 participating households. At the end of the Pilot, this data will be used to identify what would be needed to add a curbside food scrap collection to Metro Waste Service’s curbside trash and recycling program city-wide.

For more information, visit https://www.nashville.gov/departments/mayor/news/metros-food-scraps-pickup-pilot-keeps-food-waste-out-landfill#.