Landfills in Middle Tennessee are being pumped full of food waste and other organics that could be composted causing the city to launch a new collection program.
According to Zero Waste Manager Jenn Harrman, nearly one-third of all waste that ends up at these landfills consist of food scraps and other organic materials. Now, Harrman is taking her team and exploring ways to reduce the amount going to landfills and to find more sustainable solutions for disposing of Nashville’s trash.
Middle Tennessee plans to launch a year-long pilot program where households can collect their food waste and organic materials during the week, then take them out to the curb for curbside pickup and to be composted at no cost.
“I think we have more and more people in Nashville that want to be more sustainable,” Harrman said. “Anecdotally, the issues with trash as well, and knowing that landfills are filling up, I think folks recognize that we need to do something different.”
During the Metro Council’s last meeting, it was said that local landfills are expected to reach capacity in three to five years if the proper steps aren’t taken. The resolution was in support of a community-wide target of a 50% reduction in food waste by 2030.
“Prices are going up for landfills; no one wants a landfill in their backyard; it’s more difficult to find places to even build new landfills,” Harrman said. “So, there’s just more opportunity to find ways that are sustainable, and with food waste in particular, it’s one of our top priorities.”