The Tire Life Cycle: Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse

The Tire Life Cycle: Recycle, Repurpose, Reuse

The day begins to wane as you watch the vibrant sunset from the comfort of your trusty canoe, allowing the sun’s fleeting rays to warm your soul. As you paddle along you take note of the tiny turtle family sunbathing amidst a floating log on the nearby bank, and the rhythmic lull of the flowing river as the bow of the canoe bisects the current.  You begin to comment on the perfection of the pristine panorama you are beholding, but what is that in the distance obstructing your view…a pile of tires?  Unfortunately this has happened to me and many others across the world as we face an epidemic of illegally dumped tires in our lovely waterways, parks, roadsides, and just about anywhere imaginable. As un-anesthetically pleasing as this may be, abandoned tires cause far worse problems to our environment and health.  With a little education and effort we can eradicate-or take steps to prevent- the tire pile-up by recycling, re-purposing, or reusing these tires in new and innovative ways.  

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Blueways Blues

Blueways Blues

At Lightning 100’s Team Green Adventures, we love the outdoors.  We are passionate about maintaining a clean, sustainable environment for all to enjoy, and it is our goal to get the community of Middle Tennessee involved in our efforts.  That’s why we incorporate as many community service events as we can to help raise awareness about environmental concerns.

Each year Team Green Adventures hosts multiple waterway cleanups to collect litter from our beautiful creeks and streams. In 2015, over 100 volunteers gathered for six different waterway cleanups; together we gathered 167 bags of trash and 118 tires!

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Clear the Way- Trail Building 101

Clear the Way- Trail Building 101

Have you ever thought about how a trail is actually created? When I first began hiking, I was far too consumed with my natural surroundings to consider the work put in to design and construct a trail. Then I spent a Sunday morning rerouting the Fiery Gizzard Trail with Team Green Adventures, and my outlook on hiking trails was changed forever.

Hiking trails do not just appear out of thin air. They are created with in-depth forethought and are paved by nature lovers abound. Designing a trail requires proper vision with the most sustainable route in mind. Think long-term. How can we design a trail so it can be used for the next 50+ years, with the minimal amount of maintenance needed to keep it safe and functional?

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6 Features that Make the Gulch Nashville’s Greenest Neighborhood

6 Features that Make the Gulch Nashville’s Greenest Neighborhood

If you live in Nashville, it’s been hard of late to avoid daily discussions of Music City’s growth and what it means for the identity of this Southern locale known for it’s country music scene and it’s endless hospitality. Though Nashville’s face has been changing, many of those recent developments are improving the city for the better, making the city a more sustainable, healthy, and accessible place to live. In a better-late-than-never recap of our sustainability walking tour of the Gulch with Urban Green Lab and Kim Hawkins of Hawkins Partners, check out 6 things that are helping Nashville’s hottest neighborhood be the city’s most sustainable as well:

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10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Navigate Nashville’s Recycling Rules

10 Tips and Tricks to Help You Navigate Nashville’s Recycling Rules

Whether you’re new to Nashville or have lived here your whole life, we all know that recycling can be a challenge. Do you need to remove that plastic film from your envelopes before you toss them in with the rest of the paper? Can you recycle styrofoam? And what’s the deal with pizza boxes?! Earlier this week, we hosted another installment of our Engage Green sustainability workshop series with Urban Green Lab to help get some of your most pressing recycling questions answered. Here are the 10 most helpful things we learned:

1. Envelopes

So do you need to need to remove the plastic film windows from things like envelopes and pasta boxes before you recycle them? Nope! While it certainly doesn’t hurt to remove them and recycle them with the rest of your plastic bags and films (more on this later), the modern paper recycling process is equipped to handle a small amount of contaminants like these little windows, so there’s no need for you to take the time to separate these pieces before recycling your boxes and envelopes. On a related note, you also don’t have to remove tape and staples from cardboard boxes before you place them in with the rest of your recyclables.

2. Pizza Boxes

What’s the deal with pizza boxes? Can you recycle them? Yes and no. If your pizza box is covered in grease, it cannot be recycled because the grease is considered a contaminant in the paper recycling process (oil and water don’t mix, and water is used in the pulping process when paper and cardboard are recycled). Some pizza boxes, however, come with liners on the bottom, protecting the exterior box from being soaked with grease. In this case, recycle your pizza box! If you’re feeling ambitious, you can also cut the top of your pizza box off and just recycle that half, since those little cheese protector tripods usually prevent the top of the box from getting greasy.

photo (7)
Clean pizza box? Throw it in with the rest of your cardboard recycling! It’ll eventually end up in this pile inside Metro’s curbside sorting facility.

3. Glass

Glass is not recyclable through Metro’s curbside recycling program! Glass is heavy, making hauling costs really expensive, and most curbside bins are not equipped to handle the weight of glass. For this reason, you can only recycle glass at one of Metro’s recycling convenience centers around town. If you do throw glass in your curbside bin, it’s considered a contaminant and will be sent directly to the landfill (more on this later), so don’t do it!

4. Plastic Bags and Films

Plastic shopping bags, bread bags and other films are all part of the LDPE (low-density polyethelene) family of plastics, usually labeled with the number 4. These types of plastic cannot be recycled in your curbside bin, but many grocery stores will take them for free as long as they’re clean. You can also recycle zip-lock bags this way, as long as you cut the zipper portion off first.

5. Styrofoam

All styrofoam is considered to be in a class of waste called “expanded plastics.” These materials are not recyclable through Metro’s curbside recycling program, even if they have a recycling symbol and number on them! On the bright side, some Publix grocery stores will take your old egg cartons and recycle them for you.

6. Black plastic trays

Once upon a time, you couldn’t recycle black plastic trays (like the ones you find in microwaveable dinners) in Nashville. Usually made of plastic #1, these trays are often easily recyclable, but were difficult to detect by sorting machines during the recycling intake process, which is why they weren’t allowed in your recycling bin. Advances in sorting technology have changed the rules on this, so go ahead and throw these in with the rest of your recycling – just rinse them first (more on this later)!

7. Plastic Bottle and Can Labels

Do you need to remove paper labels from plastic bottles or steel cans before recycling them? No way! Both plastics and metals are eventually melted down at really high temperatures (up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for steel), and these paper labels don’t stand a chance in that heat, so don’t worry about removing them!

8. Food Contaminants

People are often curious how well you need to clean something before you toss it in the recycling. The general rule is to give anything that had food in it a good rinse before you recycle it. You’ll want to try to get rid of any large food particles as well as large amounts of things like sauces and gravies. While all plastic and metal recyclables are cleaned at recycling facilities, large amounts of food residue can contaminate paper and cardboard recycling while in transit (because Metro Nashville’s curbside recycling program is single-stream, meaning all recyclables are placed in the same bin). Basically, small amounts of food won’t hurt, so you don’t have to throw recycling in your dishwasher before you recycle it, but you will want to give things like yogurt or pasta sauce containers a reasonable rinse before disposing of them.

9. Milk Cartons

Yes, wax-coated cardboard milk cartons can be recycled! The same goes for any and all of those Tetra Pak-style containers like what you often find coconut water, orange juice, or easily-portable wine in. And no, you don’t have to worry about removing the plastic spout from these containers before you toss them in the recycling. Drink up, Nashville!

Recycle these! (Image courtesy of Metro Public Works)

10. Aerosol cans

As long as they’re completely empty, aerosol cans can be recycled along with your other aluminum and steel containers in your curbside bin, so you don’t even have to worry about taking them to a special drop-off center.

Bonus: “Aspirational Recycling”

As mentioned before, contaminants can mess up the recycling process if present in large quantities. Anything that doesn’t fit into Metro’s requirements is considered a “contaminant,” even if those things can be recycled elsewhere (e.g. egg cartons or plastic bags). If contaminants are present at a rate of over 20%, then Metro doesn’t get paid for that batch of recycling, which raises disposal costs in the long run. Given that, Public Works encourages everyone to avoid being an “aspirational recycler,” or the type of person who throws something in their recycling bin with the noble thought that “this seems like it should be recyclable, so I don’t want to throw it away, and Metro will sort it out anyways if it’s not recyclable…”. If you’re unsure if something can be recycled or not, look it up!

In addition to some of these recycling tips, we also learned several other fun facts about waste disposal more generally in Nashville. Here are some of the best ones:

  1. It costs Metro Nashville $34.50/ton to landfill garbage, which added up to more than $5 million in landfill costs in 2014. Conversely, Metro makes money on every ton of recycling they collect, so the more we recycle, the lower our waste disposal costs are and the higher our chances of making waste disposal a net financial win overall!
  2. Metro collects roughly 30,000 tons of yard waste per year and turns much of it into mulch, which is available for purchase to the general public (at a really low cost!) at Metro’s Bordeaux facility.
  3. Metro will haul away your bulk trash items for free if you request it! Eligible items include furniture, appliances, car parts, and more.
  4. Several of Metro Nashville’s Recycling Drop-Off Sites are at local public schools. These schools are in charge of monitoring these areas and keeping them clean, and in return, Metro pays the schools $15/ton of recycled material. That means you can support your local school while recycling your waste – a win for kids and Mother Nature alike!
  5. East Recycling Center is the rockstar of all of Metro’s recycling facilities. As your best one-stop shop for properly disposing of anything and everything, they’ll take things no other drop-off center in Nashville will take, including household hazardous waste and refrigerators. If you need to get rid of something and aren’t sure where to take it, give the East Recycling Center a call first.

Still have questions? Check out the Metro Nashville Recycling Services website for more information. A big thanks again to Metro Public Works for taking the time to show us around their facility, and keep on recycling, Nashville!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

Lifestyle and Fitness: The Keys to Sustainability

Lifestyle and Fitness: The Keys to Sustainability

When it comes to working out, let’s face it, this is an endeavor one either dreads or loves. So, how does one make exercise feel less laborious and more enjoyable? The first and most significant tip to make this happen is to discover activities that are both fun and rejuvenating! While this may appear as a seemingly simple concept to grasp, it is all too often overlooked because exercise is commonly associated with being uncomfortable and restricted to the confines of a gym. Under no circumstances does this have to be the case nor should it be! Below are a few tips to help guide you to a more sustainable fitness lifestyle:


The world of fitness is evolving every single day as more people are truly beginning to recognize just how much the human body is capable of achieving. A few of the most rapidly increasing trends include Crossfit, Parkour or “free running,” and calisthenics, just to name a few. Think of activities that perhaps you have not tried before, but have always wanted to do, and go for it! Yes, it may feel a bit unnerving at the start, but it is outside of your comfort zone that growth and progress can occur. Embrace the excitement of a new undertaking and hold steadfast to the process.

Remember, no matter the pursuit, it is ultimately enjoyment that leads to sustainability.


Along with finding your sport or activity of choice, another important factor is forming connections with others who share similar interests. We all know how difficult it can be to find the drive to workout on our own; thus, with a partner or group, not only does it serve as extra motivation, but this will also help with accountability in both quality and completion of the workout. Gyms and fitness studios across the board are improving tremendously with creating an inclusive environment for prospective members, beginner-level individuals, and seasoned athletes alike. So if you are looking to work alongside others or tap into that competitive side, group fitness may be for you!  Lightning 100’s Team Green Adventures is a fantastic option centered around promoting an active lifestyle, community involvement, and encouraging environmental awareness!

However, if convening with workout partner(s) proves to be difficult, there are a plethora of modalities through which involvement with community fitness can still be achieved. With technology and social media evolving at an astounding rate, the possibilities are truly limitless. Facebook fitness groups are a great way to engage with other like-minded individuals. Use this platform to strive towards a particular goal, hold each other accountable and encourage one another along the way to reach success. Other social media avenues such as Twitter can connect you to esteemed fitness icons as well as allow access to the latest in health and fitness trends from reputable, verified sources; Twitter’s defining quality is that it is based upon frequent, constant updates, which ensures that staying current is a non-issue. In conjunction with social media, this day and age revolves around having access to smartphones making phone applications another ideal avenue to stay in tune with staying fit. If time is a constraint (as it is for so many of us), apps such as Sworkit provide high-intensity workouts designed for incorporation within a busy lifestyle.


Ultimately, mental and physical progression is dependent upon initiative and effort. The following concept has been propagated in a multitude of ways but still holds true no matter the endeavor, and that is: the amount of progress one makes is a direct reflection of the amount of effort put into the pursuit.

As Maya Angelou simply, yet prudently stated, “Nothing will work unless you do.”

Intertwining healthy habits with one’s lifestyle is a feat in itself and requires balance, and this balance is forged over time with a steadfast approach. Life will present challenges, some expected and some unforeseen, that will disrupt the very harmony you are working towards. This is okay and remember, you are always in control of how you respond! The ability to overcome obstacles is a quality that will enable the achievement of health goals and other facets of everyday life. Along this journey towards a better you, the two defining ideals to keep in mind are patience and consistency. These are two of the most important ingredients for the recipe of success. Take both the trials and triumphs experienced with fitness and apply the lessons learned to other aspirations. Results will not be immediate starting out, and if they are, plateaus or feelings of stagnation may occur along the way, but do not become discouraged. This is all a part of the journey towards bringing about self-fulfillment.

Stay the course, embrace the process, and the results will be sure to follow.

copernicus and misty

This post was written by guest Adventure Blogger, Copernicus Johnson with Metro Parks’ Centennial Sportsplex. Copernicus is an ASCM certified personal trainer with a B.S. Degree in Exercise and Sports Science from the University of Alabama. Centennial Sportsplex is a metro owned and operated fitness facility including fitness gym, studio classes, indoor and outdoor tennis courts, indoor aquatic center and indoor ice skating rink. Centennial Sportsplex hosts Team Green’s weekly Fitness Workshops the 2nd Sunday of each month at 3pm, and Team Green Members can purchase discounted monthly and annual memberships at the facility! Our next Fitness Workshop: Jungle Gym Bootcamp is on Sunday, October 11th.

10 Ways to be Green at Live on the Green 2015

10 Ways to be Green at Live on the Green 2015

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again – the weather is hot, school is back in session, and Lightning 100’s Live on the Green is returning! This year marks the 7th time we’ll be taking over Public Square Park for the biggest free concert series in town, and we hope you’ll join us for the fun!

Live on the Green started with a vision to create an event that was by Nashville and for Nashville, and we’ve always tried to make sure the festival embodies the values Music City stands for. For that reason, sustainability has always been a central component of Live on the Green’s mission, as we want to host an event that is as environmentally and socially responsible as possible. The festival takes place in what is perhaps Nashville’s most eco-friendly park, where the courthouse lawn doubles as a green roof over a parking garage and the fountains use recycled rainwater to supply Nashvillians young and old with a place to cool off on a hot summer day.

We do as much as possible to make our event sustainable, but we need your help to make it happen! As a follow-up to our Buzzfeed feature on 10 reasons to be excited about Live on the Green, here are 10 ways you can help us and our community partners make 2015 the most environmentally-responsible year of Live on the Green yet:

1. Ride A Bike

Each year, we partner with Walk Bike Nashville to host a free bike valet for anyone who wants to use a little pedal power to get to Live on the Green. Last year, more than 800 Nashvillians biked to Live on the Green, setting a new record for bike valet usage. We’re hoping for an even greater number this year, and with the capacity to check more than 250 bikes during each show date, we think we can do it! Bonus: You can also ride a Bcycle to Live on the Green, with three convenient check-in locations near Public Square Park, including at the bike valet station at the corner of 3rd Avenue and Union St.

Our free bike valet took in more than 800 bikes at Live on the Green 2014 – help us break that record this year by riding to Public Square Park and checking your bike!

2. Take the Bus

Taking the bus is one of the easiest ways to get to and from Public Square Park, and it’ll save you a lot of money over paying for parking downtown (one-way fares are just $1.70). Music City Central (Nashville’s main bus terminal) is located just a block from the park, and the Music City Circuit is a great option to get from downtown to Germantown, SoBro, or The Gulch. Bonus: Music City Circuit buses are free! Check out Nashville MTA’s website to learn all you need to know about riding the bus, including how to bring your bike on the bus if you happen to ride to the festival but don’t want to ride home after dark. You can also take a peek at Transit Now Nashville’s handy trip planner if you’re unsure of which bus you need to take to get to the festival – it’s so easy!

Take the free Music City Circuit between Public Square Park and Germantown, SoBro, and The Gulch! Photo credit: Nashville MTA.

3. Walk

If you live or work downtown, we definitely encourage you to walk to the festival! Bring a change of clothes to work and show up early to Public Square Park to get a good spot on the lawn. The festival site officially opens at 5pm, meaning you can grab dinner from one of our delicious food trucks and save yourself a trip home. If you walk, you also avoid the hassles that downtown traffic and parking can cause, creating a headache-free Live on the Green experience for you and your friends.

4. Carpool

If you must drive into downtown, please carpool! You’ll save money by splitting parking costs with friends and do your part to help reduce traffic and air pollution downtown caused by idling cars trying to find a parking spot. Parking is easiest in the Nissan Stadium lots just across the river, so please utilize these resources whenever possible and avoid driving downtown altogether. Bonus: For the first time ever, we’re partnering with Uber this year to host an official Live on the Green pick-up and drop-off lane. You can see the drop-off location at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and Union Street on our official 2015 festival map, and Uber makes it easy to split the fare with friends!

5. Recycle

We’ve always tried to divert as much of our waste as possible from landfills, but we need your help to make this happen! Recycling stations are clearly marked and located throughout the event site, so please use them. This year, we’re switching to selling all beer in aluminum cans because they’re the most recyclable and eco-friendly option available to us. Bonus: Hands On Nashville volunteers will be stationed throughout the festival to help you dispose of your food and drink waste properly, so be sure to give these folks a high five when you see them and thank them for their help! Want to go one step further and volunteer yourself? Do it.

6. Bring a Reusable Bottle

It’s August in Nashville, and we know it gets hot! Every year, we partner with Metro Water Services to provide you with free drinking water on site to help keep you hydrated and happy. Bring a reusable water bottle to Live on the Green this year and take advantage of this complimentary service! Your body, and your wallet, will thank you.

7. Eat Some Food

Did you know Live on the Green encourages all of its food vendors to use eco-friendly and compostable serviceware? We make sure that nobody is using harmful products like styrofoam, and we also advocate for the use of locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. It makes it even better that all of our food trucks are small local businesses, so eating dinner at Live on the Green means you’re actively supporting Nashville-based entrepreneurs – a win-win for the environment and the local economy!

8. Buy a Souvenir

We partner with Friendly Arctic Printing & Design to produce all of our generally awesome limited-run Live on the Green merchandise, meaning you can both feel and look good when you buy a hand-printed t-shirt, tank, or poster. Friendly Arctic uses only the most eco-responsible methods and supplies (they only use water-based inks, among other things) to print their products, and their high-quality work is designed to last a long time, ensuring you get a truly sustainable shirt.

Our limited-edition festival posters make a great Live on the Green souvenir, and they’re made using eco-friendly materials!

9. Take What You Need

It’s easy to get excited about all the free stuff at Live on the Green. From the music to the promotional giveaways, there’s so much going on around the festival that won’t cost you a dime that it’s not hard to get carried away. Whether you’re grabbing yourself a super cool Lightning 100 sticker or koozie, some handy Erie Insurance sunglasses, or any of the other swag you find around the festival, be sure to only take what you need and leave the rest for someone else – Mother Nature, and the other festival-goers, will thank you.

10. Clean Up After Yourself

We want you to have a blast at the show, enjoy some food and a few drinks, and dance your heart out to your favorite songs, but sometimes having a lot of fun can get messy. On your way out of Public Square Park, make sure you pick up any trash lying around on the ground and dispose of it properly. As mentioned before, there are tons of recycling bins around the site, so put them to use! We rely on volunteers to clean up anything left on the site after each show, and as much as they love to lend a hand, they’re not your mothers! A little effort on your part goes a long way, and means that we get to keep hosting Live on the Green year after year… for free!

LOTG Crowd Shot 2014
We’re seriously beyond excited to see you at Live on the Green this year!

If you want to learn even more about Live on the Green’s sustainability efforts, check out the festival’s website, where you can also find out all you need to know about the music lineup, check on VIP ticket availability, and see photos and videos from past years. You can also download our newly-released and seriously awesome Live on the Green festival app to stay up to date on all things LOTG2015. We can’t wait to see you out there on Thursday!

– Matt (Team Green’s Events Coordinator)