Nashville 2018: Eliminating food waste in Music City

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News 2 continues to track the good and bad that comes with Nashville’s growth, like uneaten food.

Big venues in Music City bring big with them, large amounts of food waste.

The Country Music Hall of Fame hosts over 1,000 events every year, feeding anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 people.

“A lot of the times, people don’t show up, things happen, and we have this leftover food,” said Karl Ebert, Associate Director of Operations for the Hall of Fame.

Statistics show 40% of food is wasted.

“Nashville is growing very rapidly, in residence and tourism, and so more people is more waste, including more food waste,” said Linda Breggin, Project Coordinator for the Nashville Food Waste Initiative.

That’s why entertainment venues like the Hall of Fame are trying to be part of the solution as part of the Nashville Food Waste Initiative.

The initiative was created in 2015 when the Natural Resources Defense Council chose Nashville as the pilot city to address food waste on the local level.

“We have a great responsibility being a major part of this city and our community, we want to be able to reduce what is going out of the facility and properly manage that,” said Ebert.

Achieving the goal of eliminating waste began with donating uneaten food, followed by composting.

At the Hall of Fame, color-coded bins simplify the process.

“Our first month was around 1,000 pounds,” said Ebert. “We’re now doing around 10,000 pounds a month.”

The museum is one of the first venues to join the initiative, followed by local restaurants like Acme Feed and Seed downtown.

Acme Chef de Cuisine Jeremy Wyatt said they fill two bins with uneaten food almost every day of the week.

“We hope to just mitigate waste going into the dumpster,” said Wyatt. “Trying to be a big part of the community and help out.”

But there is a cost that comes with donating and composting.

“Landfill prices are so cheap, that we’re competing against throwing in a landfill which we just can’t compete against that, said Beadle Beadlecomb of Compost Nashville. “These people are having to pay a little extra to do what they feel is right.”

The initiative’s goal of zero waste may be a ways away, but those on board said they hope their proactive approach will encourage others.

“We want people to consciously think about it,” said Ebert.

Mayor Briley’s Office said it plans to re-launch the 30-day food waste challenge from 2017.

Restaurants and grocery markets will compete to see who can eliminate the greatest amount of their food waste.

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