Nashville Sees Drop in Curbside Recycling Contamination

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville curbside recycling is making progress towards a more efficient, greener city. According to the Metro Nashville 2021 Curbside Recycling Audit, the city’s recycling contamination rate has dropped by 17.6% from 46% the year before and puts Nashville closer to the national recycling contamination rate.

“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 audit revealed that food and liquid, as well as non-recyclable plastics and plastic bags, make up most of the contamination in recycling carts. Not all plastics can be recycled in Nashville; Nashvillians should only recycle plastic bottles, jars, and jugs. Recyclables should also be emptied, rinsed, and dried before being placed in your recycling cart. To help Nashvillians learn what can be recycled and where, Metro Water Services: Waste Services has developed the Nashville Waste and Recycling App that features a searchable database – called the Waste Wizard. The app includes information on recyclables, large trash items, electronics, scrap metal, old clothing, and more. Additionally, it allows users to sign up for trash, recycling, and brush pick-up day reminders and alerts.

“The Waste Wizard is a quick and easy way for Nashville residents to find answers to all of their recycling and trash questions,” Scott Potter said. “We are adding more items to the app regularly and hope this app helps residents feel confident they are recycling right.”

The Nashville Waste and Recycling App can be downloaded on the App Store, Google Play, and on In addition to offering the app, Waste Services offers virtual Recycle Right informational sessions on and has updated the signage at the city’s 10 recycling drop-off locations and 4 convenience center recycling locations to make guidelines clearer.

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