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Tennessee Recycling Information and Tips

Recycling in Tennessee needs a boost

Participation in curbside recycling programs and overall recycling efforts in Tennessee are pretty poor compared to other states. In fact, 2008 statistics show the TN recycling rate is just 4.64%, good enough for 8th worst in the country.

FACT: Average state recycling rate in the U.S. is 34% (EPA)

A 2012 story by WBIR states that just one out of every three Curby customers recycle regularly. Curby is the free curbside recycling program in Nashville.

Even though recycling is free in Nashville, customers still don’t use it. But why?

One of the problems is the low landfill tipping fees in Tennessee. The average TN landfill tipping fee in 2012 was $37 per ton. It costs more than that to recycle the same amount of material. So, people would rather dump it than recycle it.

The state government is looking to change things by increasing tipping fees and promoting the benefits of recycling. Here are a few of those benefits:

  1. More jobs. For every 5 tons of waste disposed of in a landfill, one job is created. For every 5 tons of materials recycled or recovered, 10 recycling-related jobs are created or 75 material recovery jobs.
  2. Recycling eliminates the cost of landfilling and puts money back into the economy with the materials recovered.
  3. Manufacturing recycling materials into new products is cheaper and more energy-efficient compared to using virgin materials.

Read about other benefits of recycling

Find a local recycling facility

Find a recycling center near you by visiting Earth911. You can find a recycler for virtually any type of waste, including batteries, e-waste, glass, metal, paint and more.

Information about recycling e-waste in TN

Save money and reduce waste by composting

As much as 30% of municipal waste in the U.S. is compostable, including yard debris, food scraps and paper products.

Benefits of composting:

  • It’s free organic fertilizer and soil additive
  • Reducing waste output by up to 30% could reduce the cost of your waste hauling bill

Learn more about composting:

Helpful resources:

  1. Department of Environment & Conservation Division of Solid Waste Management
  2. Tennessee municipal code
  3. Hazardous wastes disposal and rules

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