How Do I Recycle <Insert Hard-to-Recycle Item Here>?


What if you have items that aren’t recyclable in your curbside recycling program, but you really want to recycle them?

In Nashville, you have a few options!

First consider selling, trading, or giving away your unwanted items. Places like Turnip Green Creative Reuse accept lots of hard-to-recycle odds and ends, including half-melted candles, bottle caps, worn out art supplies, etc. For a more complete list of places to sell/trade/give away unwanted items click HERE.

E-waste is accepted for recycling at any Best Buy.

Home Depot offers recycling programs for rechargeable batteries, CFL bulbs and old incandescent holiday light strings. Lightbulbs and rechargeable batteries can also be recycled at Batteries+Bulbs.

Household alkaline batteries can be recycled through Metro’s Hazardous Waste collection service.

Companies like Lush, MAC, Aveda, Origins take back (and reward you for!) their own containers.

Styrofoam packaging can be recycled at EFP Corp in LaVergne, TN and styrofoam trays and egg cartons can be recycled at any Publix.

Many organizations like Wands for Wildlife look for clean mascara wands to remove fly eggs from sick animals.

Recycle your old mattress in Nashville at Spring Back Recycling.

Recycle T-Shirts through Marine Layer, Athletic/tennis shoes through the Nike Store, and any type of clothing at H&M.

Earthworksystem allows you to mail in your #3 plastics (credit/gift cards) to be recycled for free (you pay the cost of shipping)—I’d recommend saving these up or collecting old cards from friends/family before mailing so you can send a bunch in at once.

If you can’t find anywhere to divert your stuff, TerraCycle accepts most hard-to-recycle items—including personal care items (toothbrushes, toothpaste tubes, deodorant sticks, plastic #3 shampoo, conditioner, body lotion bottles, chip and snack bags, coffee pods, brita filters, cereal bags, contact lenses, plastic toys, etc.) They offer several free recycling programs, and Subaru of Nashville has a local drop-off location for snack bags and single-use coffee pods.

What about plastic bags??

Plastic bags are the number one contaminant in Nashville’s curbside recycling. Plastic bags can’t be recycled through Metro’s recycling program—they get caught in the expensive sorting machines and stop production altogether until they get cleaned out.

At designated bag drop-off sites, including Kroger, Target, Lowe’s and Walmart, you CAN recycle

  • grocery bags

  • produce bags

  • newspaper bags

  • bread bags

  • cereal bags

  • clothing/dry cleaning bags

  • toilet paper/napkin/paper towel/drink wrappers

  • Ziploc bags (with zipper cut off)

  • bubble wrap

  • bags labeled #2 and #4 (#4 poly mailers can be recycled, however the grey ones and paper/plastic bubble mailers cannot)

You can’t recycle cling wrap, frozen food bags, or salad bags—those just have to go in the trash. For a complete list of places to recycle plastic bags and film, visit Want to know what you can recycle in your curbside bin in Nashville? Click HERE.

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