Nashville restaurants work to relieve local landfills with compost


As Nashville area landfills reach capacity, people are looking at ways to cut back on waste. One of those is composting.
Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:59 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - As Nashville area landfills reach capacity, people are looking at ways to cut back on waste.

One of those is composting and over 100 Nashville area businesses are trying to relieve the trash problem.

When you throw out a bag of trash, you throw it into a dumpster and don’t think twice. Now, Compost Nashville is making sure the community isn’t building on what’s already a problem.

Behind the counter at Crema Coffee Roasters you’ll find green plastic-line bins.

Owner Rachel Lehman showed News4 the waste inside goes into a Compost Nashville can. After it’s processed, what was coffee grounds becomes the ground at the South Nashville Cosecha Community Garden.

“Yes, that’s like brown gold,” Carlos Uroza with Cosecha Community Gardens said.

Uroza said the $500 donated pile of composted dirt is what the garden needs.

“It’s just the right balance,” Uroza said. “Everything the flowers need to thrive with a little bit of that.”

“It’s one of those things in Nashville where instead of saying ‘landfill,’ we are going to say ‘landfilled,” Compost Nashville’s Micah Puncochar said.

He knows area landfills are almost at capacity, but this full circle process prevents that.

“This diverts so much waste away from the landfill,” Puncochar said. “We are diverting over 100,000 pounds per month.

He said 100 Nashville restaurants are helping cut back on landfill waste.

“The names everyone knows like Henriette Red and Bongo Java and Crema and Lyra, a lot of independents, but also hotels,” Puncochar said.

Crema alone has diverted almost 183,000 pounds of trash since it started working with Compost Nashville in 2014.

“To us it’s being a responsible business owner,” Lehman said.

Compost Nashville expects to divert 200,000 pounds of trash every month from local landfills next year.

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