Nashville Food Waste Initiative

Urban Green Lab’s Food Waste Initiatives highlight best practices in food waste reduction, recycling, and rescue.

In 2015, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) -- a leading national environmental organization of scientists, lawyers, economists, and other experts -- selected Nashville as its pilot city for developing high-impact local policies and on-the-ground actions to address food waste. NRDC, in partnership with Urban Green Lab, is developing local and national strategies to prevent food from going to waste, rescue surplus food, and recycle food scraps. The Nashville Food Waste Initiative (NFWI) develops and implements strategies and tools as models for cities around the country.

The NFWI’s goal is to engage governments, consumers, restaurants, community institutions, and retailers to prevent food waste, rescue surplus food to direct to hungry people, and compost and digest what’s left to help build healthy soil. Cities play a critical role in meeting America’s food waste challenge. Up to 40 percent of the food we produce in the United States goes uneaten and 95 percent of food waste is disposed in landfills. When we waste food, we also waste the water, energy, agricultural chemicals, and labor that goes into growing, storing and transporting it.

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