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A guide to curbside recycling in Nashville

Consider this a refresher as Metro prepares to increase curbside recycling service.

Every-other-week curbside recycling starts up soon.

Every-other-week recycling starts up soon. | Photo by NASHtoday

Table of Contents

Let’s be real. We all want to recycle, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Can plastic packaging go in the bin? Do you need to rinse food waste out? What do the little numbers even mean?

There are tons of questions about the process, so we’re sharing a guide to Nashville’s curbside service. As a reminder, curbside is expanding to every other week beginning Monday, Jan. 30 — so get ready to kick that cart to the curb more often (with care, of course). ♻️

First, who qualifies for curbside recycling?

If you live in Nashville’s Urban Services District and receive trash collection from Metro, your household is eligible for curbside and up to three recycling carts at no cost — request an additional cart if you need it. Similarly, Metro will pick up unwanted extra carts. Live outside the USD? Here’s everything to know about the city’s drop-off sites + convenience centers.

Do’s of curbside

  • Place clean and empty recyclable items loose in the bin. No need to try to sort it yourself — that part comes later at the facility.
  • Flatten cardboard material. Plus, you’ll have more room in the bin. Win, win.
  • Recycle paper, cartons, cardboard, cans + plastic bottles, jars, and jugs.

Don’ts of curbside

  • Hold on to those glass bottles and jarsfor now. Glass is not accepted in curbside bins, but is accepted at recycling drop-off sites.
  • Material like bubble wrap, takeout containers, plastic cups, Styrofoam, and plastic bags cannot be recycled. Pro tip: Plug in your location to find local retailers that accept plastic bags.

When in doubt, use Metro’s interactive Waste Wizard app to look up what you can and cannot recycle in Nashville, whether it be candle jars, pumpkins, mattresses, or refrigerators — it covers just about everything under the sun.