Some Recycling Required: Nashville Bans Cardboard From Trash Carts

Starting in July, cardboard is banned from Metro trash carts. Starting in 2015, electronics will also be banned. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Starting in July, cardboard is banned from Metro trash carts. And in 2015, electronics will no longer be allowed. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Starting this week, Nashvillians will no longer be allowed to put cardboard in their garbage.

The ban is one of several steps in a 2010 Metro law that enacted recommendations from Mayor Karl Dean’s Green Ribbon Committee on Environmental Sustainability. It was intended to reduce the amount of waste the city trucks to landfills, starting with a ban on yard waste a few years ago.

The cardboard ban won’t be easy to enforce. Public Works admits cardboard must be obvious before they will refuse to empty a trash cart.

On average, the city earns nearly $80 for every ton of cardboard it recycles. For each ton of trash it takes to the landfill, it pays $32.

Also starting this week, trash carts that are lost, stolen, or damaged will have to be replaced at the owner’s expense, and private waste disposal contractors operating in Davidson County will be required to provide recycling options for their customers, residential and business.

The  Public Works website lists all of the upcoming changes.

Recycling by the numbers

  • In May 2013, Nashville recycled nearly 5,000 tons, but collected three times as much trash.
  • Each month, Nashville earns an average $10,000 by recycling cardboard, but pays over $400,000 for landfill tipping fees.
  • The state of Tennessee provides monetary incentives to its top 11 waste-producing counties. Davidson county was at the top of the list last year, and was awarded over $52,000 to pay for recycling programs and education.
  • According to the EPA, paper and cardboard account for nearly 30 percent of the nation’s waste.

Please keep your community civil. Comments will be moderated prior to posting, and Nashville Public Radio reserves the right to approve them at its discretion. Comments containing links promoting goods, services - even noble organizations - will not be published. Your comments may include external links, but all comments with links will be delayed as they are reviewed. Comments containing profanity will be rejected.