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Metro Public Works Offers New Resources to Help Residents “Recycle Right”

Cortnye Stone, 615-862-8779

Metro Public Works (MPW) has developed new educational resources to help residents better understand guidelines for recycling and how to “Recycle Right”. The effort focuses on print and online resources for residents to learn about what can and cannot be recycled in curbside carts, as well as at Metro recycling drop-off sites.

New resources include a downloadable “How to Recycle Right in Nashville” guide, updated signage at Metro recycling drop-off sites, downloadable posters, new curbside cart stickers, and updated “Oops” tags for residential carts. Residents are invited to test their recycling knowledge with the “This Not That” online quiz at and can get more #RecycleRightNashville tips through MPW social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Nextdoor.

“With recent changes to the global recycling industry, recycling collection programs including Nashville’s have changed, leaving residents confused about what they can and cannot put in their recycling bin,” said Metro Public Works Assistant Director Sharon Smith. “We want to provide simple, clear, and consistent guidance so residents can be confident in what they are recycling and reduce the amount of trash that ends up in recycling bins.”

In Nashville, 30% of what is tossed into recycling bins can’t be recycled and ends up in the landfill. Some of the top offenders include plastic bags, takeout containers, and recyclables bagged in trash bags. Plastic bags are a major problem for recycling programs all across the United States. If placed in curbside carts or recycling drop-off containers, plastic bags get stuck in the sorting equipment at the recycling processing facility causing damage and frequent shutdowns to cut bags out of the machinery.

To Recycle Right, MPW asks residents to follow a few simple guidelines. Make sure your recycling is clean, empty and dry – free from food or liquid; place your recycling loose in recycling containers, not in a plastic bag; and recycle only the following items:

  • Paper and Cartons such as newspaper, magazines, mail, and food and beverage cartons
  • Cardboard including corrugated cardboard, toilet paper and paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, and tissue boxes
  • Food and Drink Cans
  • Plastic Bottles, Jars, and Jugs such as beverage bottles, milk and juice jugs, plastic food jars, and kitchen, laundry, or bath bottles and jugs
  • Recycle glass at recycling drop-off sites ONLY. NEVER place glass in your curbside cart.

If you have questions about recycling, MPW is hosting a series of virtual Recycle Right Lunch ‘n’ Learns starting Tuesday, June 9th. Interested residents can register online at

For more information on what can be recycled, please visit or call 311.