March 5, 2012 - The City of Knoxville's Public Service Department has released its Solid Waste Division's 2011 Annual Report, showing positive results in its solid waste management programs.
The amount of material recycled and otherwise diverted from landfills increased significantly. The City's recycling rate rose to 33.7 percent of total waste in 2011 from 28.31 percent in 2010, and the overall diversion rate rose to 66.13 percent from 60.47 percent.
The City's total waste stream increased by 39,120.91 tons from 2010, about a 30 percent increase. The rise was largely attributable to yard waste collection and construction and demolition waste due to several violent storms that occurred in the spring of 2011. The City's household trash collection actually decreased by 966 tons from 2010.
"We're happy to see our rates of diversion and recycling both go up," said Solid Waste Project Manager John Homa. "That helps keep our landfill fees down, and it means our education and outreach efforts are showing results."
The diversion and recycling increases are notable, because those rates had remained fairly consistent for the last five years. The promising trend is closely linked with the City's new household curbside single-stream recycling program. This green initiative provides an opportunity for the city to increase recycling participation and divert additional materials from landfills.
The curbside recycling program began in October 2011, and in its first three months collected 1,314.82 tons of material from about 17,000 households. In comparison, a total of 4,459.85 tons of recyclables was collected at the City's 11 drop-off recycling centers in all of 2011. With 20,000 households now enrolled in the curbside program, the City expects to see continued gains in the recycling rate in 2012.
"This will be an exciting year for this program, as we anticipate the City will fully capture the diversion benefits of 20,000 households," said Public Service Director David Brace.
The full report is online at www.cityofknoxville.org/solidwaste/report_2011.pdf.