Skip to Content

Metro Public Works to focus on Curbside Recycling Contamination

Cortnye Stone 615-862-8779

Plastic Bags #1 Contaminant in Curbside Recycling Carts

Metro Public Works has started a program to place “oops” tags on recycling carts that are contaminated. A recent audit of Nashville’s curbside recycling showed that plastic bags are the number one contaminant in curbside recycling carts. Many residents bag their recyclables or place loose bags in their carts thinking those bags will get recycled, but unfortunately these bags pose a great challenge to Public Works’ recycling program.

Plastic bags are a major problem for curbside recycling programs all across the United States. They are not recyclable at the curb and must be taken to grocery and big box stores that have special separate containers for bags. If placed in curbside carts, the bags get stuck in the sorting equipment at the recycling processing facility causing damage to equipment and frequent shutdowns to cut bags out of the lines.

Public Works began conducting route audits last week. Carts with bags and other contamination such as glass, yard waste, textiles and food waste received “oops” tags and the carts were not emptied.

Residents should only place clean paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, and aluminum and steel cans in their carts. All items should be loose.

For more information on what can be recycled please visit