KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - An interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Tennessee has been awarded a $40,000 grant to collaborate with the nonprofit Resource Capture to develop a more sustainable way to manage the booming Nashville metropolitan area's organic wastes and, in the process, provide a valuable soil amendment for the region's farmers.

The Nashville metropolitan area has experienced tremendous growth in recent years and is struggling to manage its organic waste.

Currently, organics (food scraps, woody waste, yard waste and some industrial waste) comprise around 32% of its residential waste and 19% of its commercial waste.

The vast majority of this waste, mostly food, is sent to a landfill in nearby Rutherford County that is scheduled to close in the next five to 10 years.

In the landfill, organic waste breaks down, emitting methane - a greenhouse gas up to 80% more potent than carbon dioxide.

In fact, more than 14% of the methane in the atmosphere is a result of organics decomposing in landfills.

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