Gleaning is an ancient practice mentioned in the Old Testament and codified into law in some countries. Normally, over 1/3 of the food produced in the world is wasted but during the pandemic shutdown this was exacerbated as crops were being plowed under and milk dumped down drains as distribution channels shifted from institutions and restaurants to grocery stores. Jeannie Hunter from The Society of St. Andrew tells us how their program uses gleaning as a tool to end world hunger and help get food to the people who need it. Find out all about Gleaning and how you can help end hunger and waste.
Who wouldn’t want a grocery store where they are part owners and can vote on the items being sold, where they come from and how they are packaged. Learn what a grocery co-op is and how to start one in our conversation with Ellery Richardson from Nashville Food Co-op. This is the first episode in a series about food waste and production. The concept of Zero Waste is to be circular and regenerative instead of linear and destructive. Food production, packaging, shipping, cooking and disposal all have large carbon footprints. We need to be thinking different than a world where people go hungry as crops are plowed under because distribution methods are disrupted or where there are hundreds of branded sugar coated corn cereals in every grocery store contributing to malnutrition and obesity simultaneously. Click here for Episode 7 web page with transcript.
If plastic recycling is broken, why do we do it? It makes no sense financially or by any measure of success when it’s a 90% failure rate. Even if it worked better, plastic can’t be recycled more than 2-3 times before it falls apart so all we are doing is delaying the inevitable. For this episode we invited Alex Truelove, Director of U.S. PIRG’s Zero Waste program, to discuss his recent article “The insanity of plastic recycling” where he points out that doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insane. For show notes with full transcript and links to everything we talk about including a link to contact your Senator about the Break Free From Plastic Act click here
Interview with Clay Ezell from The Compost Company:
In this episode, Maris and Michael have a conversation with Clay Ezell from The Compost Company, an industrial composting facility, about how industrial composting differs from backyard composting and why Nashville is one of the few cities in the country who have a service like this that accepts food scraps and compostable plastics. We discuss why burying organic waste in a landfill is not composting and bounce around ideas for large scale composting including a look at Sevierville Solid Waste’s hybrid facility that diverts 70% of their waste stream. The question we keep coming back to is that if composting works and recycling is broken, why aren’t cities switching to curbside composting? Click here for Episode 6 Page with Transcript
How Recycling Works and Why It’s Not a Perfect System: Jenn Harrman, the Nashville Public Works Waste Reduction Program Manager, answers our questions about what’s recyclable in Nashville and where does it go? Like many cities, Nashville has had to adapt to a changing markets for recyclables. The rules for what plastics can be recycled have changed twice in the last year, causing some confusion. Listen to this episode to get to the nitty gritty of how things work at our Materials Recovery Facility and how the private contractor, Waste Management, fits into the picture. We also discuss glass for home pickup and what the city is doing about the huge amounts beer bottles generated from Downtown Nashville Honky Tonks. The legality of putting cardboard in your trash bin and how to bag your yard waste are also covered. At the wrap up Michael asks the question: “Should we even be recycling plastics”. Click here for Episode 5 Page with Transcript
Be Mindful of What Happens to Your Donated Clothes and Goods: We touch base with Zero Waste Trash Talk family member Jess Johnson to discuss her experiences with donations as a home organizer. In addition to asking what each organization is accepting before just dumping items on them, she finds out what they do with the items they can’t use. Click here for Episode 4 Page with Transcript
Don’t Make Us Get All John Wick On You: In Episode 3 we talk about watching the new documentary The Story of Plastic on Amazon Prime and we interview our friend John Hawkins, a Nashville waste diversion specialist and musician, to get his take on the problems with recycling. We discuss if we should stop recycling since it’s broken and I think Michael might’ve even encouraged armed insurrection “John Wick Style”. Click here for Episode 3 Page with Transcript
Nashville’s First Zero Waste Package Free Refill Store: Megan Gill, talks to us about her zero waste journey. She moved back to the States from Costa Rica where she taught women who had been sex traffic victims how to become beauticians. Seeing how different consumerism is here in America, it made her want to start an ethical and sustainable zero waste store in Tennessee. We discuss how the recent tornado affected her business that was followed by the pandemic stay at home closure orders. Click here for Episode 2 Page with Transcript
Sustainability Tips From Nashville: In this first episode we talk about sustainability in Nashville and what we are doing to strengthen our community. It’s a hyper local conversation with ideas that can be applied to communities all across the globe. We cover city composting options; new plastic recycling regulations and the problems with the triangle numbering system; how to dine out sustainably, and what you can do as individuals to limit your environmental footprint.