Nashville, Tennessee, to modernize recycling program

An investment through Every Bottle Back will help the city with the effort.

a neighborhood with blue recycling carts at the curb

Nashville, Tennessee, has announced that it will modernize its recycling program with support from American Beverage and The Recycling Partnership. It will cost the city $4.8 million to increase residential recycling collection frequency for 141,000 households, according to a news release issued by American Beverage, Washington. That organization and The Recycling Partnership, also based in Washington, are investing $141,000 through the Every Bottle Back initiative to help inform residents about the increased collection dates and provide education on best recycling practices.

The increase in recycling collection frequency is expected to capture 6.1 million pounds of new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and 2.3 million pounds of new aluminum.

As of Jan. 30, Nashville will increase recycling collection from once per month to every-other week. The change is designed to give residents the increased opportunity to participate in the recycling process while making recycling more convenient by creating a consistent schedule that is easier to remember with fewer weeks in between collections.

Katherine Lugar, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of American Beverage, says, “This investment will help increase the city’s recycling rates by educating residents on which products can be recycled and encouraging participation in Nashville’s expanding recycling program. We are optimistic that through our collective efforts we can get more of our specially designed 100-percent-recyclable bottles back and make the collection system work better than ever for all residents.”

“The Beverage Association of Tennessee remains committed to making recycling easier and more convenient for residents to help prevent plastic from ending up where it doesn’t belong—in our environment and community spaces,” Beverage Association of Tennessee President and CEO Greg Atkins says. “This grant from the beverage industry is instrumental in helping us to achieve this goal and, ultimately, invest in the future of our great state.”

“The Partnership has been honored to work with the city officials in Nashville providing not only grant funding but also technical assistance for this improvement to happen,” adds Cody Marshall, chief optimization officer at The Recycling Partnership. “The change in collection frequency is expected to generate 156 million new pounds of recyclables over the next 10 years. That means more cardboard, more paper and cartons, more aluminum and more plastic containers being recycled to become new products and packaging.”

This shift in recycling collection requires intensive collaboration with infrastructure, operations, routing and education and outreach. The Recycling Partnership has been working with the city to provide technical assistance in these facets, and the funding support the Every Bottle Back will be used for the education and outreach needed to inform residents about the change.

The education includes an infocard to be mailed to each household in the city with information on the new collection schedule and to educate residents about what can be recycled in their curbside carts in an effort to reduce contamination in carts.

Launched in 2019, Every Bottle Back is an integrated initiative designed to improve plastics circularity by The Coca-Cola Co., Keurig Dr Pepper, PepsiCo and Polar Beverages alongside Closed Loop Partners, The Recycling Partnership and World Wildlife Fund. This effort supports individual sustainability commitments undertaken by The Coca-Cola Co. Keurig Dr Pepper and PepsiCo.

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