Waste

Sustainability Director

Brian Blackmon
bblackmon@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-4430

400 Main St., Room 598
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Curbside recycling
City contractor picks up a curbside recycling bin

Solid Waste & Wastewater: 4% of Community EmissionsWaste Emissions 2019

Knoxville’s waste stream makes up approximately 4% of all community emissions. Most waste emissions come from the breakdown of organic materials (such as paper products, food waste, and yard waste) in our wastewater treatment process and our solid waste stream.

Overall reduction in waste is the best way to reduce emissions, but ensuring we also have robust solutions to divert organic waste through programs like recycling and composting are essential to minimizing high-impact methane emissions. Reducing waste also helps us save energy, money, and natural resources.


City Focus Areas

Working with Knox County and other community partners, the City has strengthened its waste management practices. The City has worked to reduce the amount of methane-emitting organic items in our waste stream by adopting backyard composting standards, expanding recycling services, and engaging businesses to reduce solid waste.

City successes include:

10+ years of curbside recycling service, with over 30,000 subscribers
Maintaining five public recycling centers and Solid Waste Facility
Year-round yard waste collection


Community Priorities

The Mayor’s Climate Council ranked waste strategies for their potential to directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and their community benefits.

 Mayor's Climate Council - Priority Waste Strategies
 Strategy Rankings*
Pursue food waste reduction and collection programs that capture ~80%+ of organic waste from all high-volume locations (eg. restaurants)  Strategy Rankings
Increase residential recycling through community engagement and education strategies  Strategy Rankings
Promote consumption-reduction approaches such as sharing and re-use through education campaigns  Strategy Rankings
Research pathways to offer organics (food/yard waste) collection for single-family and multi-family residential properties  Strategy Rankings
  Strategy Rankings



Resources

City Waste & Resources Management – manages curbside recycling and waste pickup, yard waste collection, drop-off facilities, and more
Knox County Solid Waste City Composting Guide
Knoxville Citizen’s Guide to Sustainability: Waste Reduction
City Green Purchasing Guide
UTK Zero-Waste Event Planning Guide
Keep Knoxville Beautiful