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.

Get Involved in the Mayor's Food Saver Challenge

James Beard Food Scrap Cooking Competition

Guidelines for Donating and Handling Surplus Foods

Resources for Best Practices

Media Appearances

Recent News

NRDC Food Matters Launches Two Regional Initiatives

The NRDC is moving to the next phase of its work to reduce food waste in cities and Nashville will be one of the two regional hubs!

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Urban Green Lab featured in Local Table Magazine

Urban Green Lab’s own Diana Andrew was selected to write an article on food waste in Local Table Magazine’s Special Green Issue this April.

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Urban Green Lab urges restaurants to donate food

Restaurants across Middle Tennessee are being forced to close their doors because of Covid-19. The Urban Green Lab doesn’t want their food to go to waste.

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Local partners in food scrap recycling in Nashville

In 2015, NRDC selected Nashville as its pilot city for developing high-impact local policies and actions to address food waste by preventing food…

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UGL Executive Director Appointed to Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Committee

Todd Lawrence, executive director of Urban Green Lab, will co-chair the Waste Reduction subcommittee of the Mayor’s Sustainability Advisory Committee.

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Experts push alternative to recycling

There’s been a lot of bad news lately when it comes to recycling in Nashville. Instead of adding programs, the city keeps taking them away.

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Mayor Cooper issues challenge to restaurant industry to reduce waste, feed the hungry

Local restaurants challenged to reduce the amount of food they waste while helping to feed hungry Nashvillians throughout the holiday season and beyond.

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Kroger donates to Metro Schools food program

On Giving Tuesday, Kroger is investing in Nashville schools to give each student the chance to take a class for reducing food waste.

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Kroger’s Zero Hunger and Zero Waste Foundation donates 100K towards food waste reduction for MNPS

The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger and Zero Waste Foundation recently donated $100,000 to Nashville-based nonprofit organization Urban Green Lab to support food waste reduction education for Metro Nashville Public Schools.

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Urban Green Lab wins big at Salute to Excellence Awards

The Center for Nonprofit Management has announced the winners of its annual Salute to Excellence Awards.

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