When Nashville residents drop off their glass bottles, paint cans and old batteries to recycle, they can now also bring food scraps.
The mayor's office announced Friday that residents can drop off compostable material at the Omohundro and East Convenience Centers. Sustainability manager Mary Beth Ikard says the city audited its waste stream earlier this year and saw a big opportunity.
"The summer season audit showed that over a third of our waste going to landfill is perfectly compostable organics," Ikard said. "We have a huge opportunity to divert food from landfill."
Metro isn't sure yet how many people who don't already have their own composting piles will drive this waste to a dropoff site. But Sharon Smith with Metro Public Works says initial response has been promising, especially at the East Convenience Center.
"We put the containers out last week," she said. "Yesterday, the containers were already full."
The bigger impact on reducing food waste will likely come from grocery stores. The mayor's office is issuing a "food-saver challenge" to retailers — the follow-up to a similar challenge for restaurants earlier this year — by asking them to donate more of their surplus to food pantries and compost any leftover produce.
Kroger is the first retailer to officially join the mayor's challenge.