2015-2025 Solid Waste Management Plan
The document linked below is the final version of the 2015-2025 Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan (the 2025 Plan). The 2025 Plan incorporates public comment recommendations and feedback.
Since April 2015, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has focused efforts toward effectively implementing the 2025 Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan. Progress is shared primarily through the 2025 Plan website, Board updates, public meetings and conferences, and the Annual Report to the Governor and General Assembly. There are many opportunities to be involved in the implementation of the Plan, and we value the input provided by all stakeholders during this process.
The 2025 Plan, adopted in April 2015, is TDEC's strategic roadmap containing broad objectives and ideas to reduce disposal and increase recycling in Tennessee. The 2025 Plan itself does not change or modify Tennessee statutes or rules.
How was the plan developed and who was involved?
TDEC held various outreach meetings and public hearings to collect input and feedback about what should and should not be included in the 2025 Plan. Further input will be invaluable as we implement the identified objectives and strategies. The areas that we will focus on are the following.
- Objective 1: Update Goals and Measure Progress – establish more robust solid waste management goals, to more accurately measure the disposition of Municipal Solid Waste in Tennessee, and to better assess progress toward achieving those goals.
- Objective 2: Increase Access to and Participation in Recycling – expand the breadth of recycling making sure access to convenient recycling programs is available to all Tennesseans, as well as expanding participation in recycling programs.
- Objective 3: Enhance Processing and End Markets – facilitate closing the materials processing gaps and increasing the opportunities for end uses of recovered materials in Tennessee, in an effort to incentivize increased diversion and simultaneously strengthen the state’s economy.
- Objective 4: Increase Diversion of Organics – encourage the reuse, composting, and beneficial use of organics, as well as implement source reduction efforts, to decrease the disposal of these materials.
- Objective 5: Support New Diversion Technology – support the adoption of new technologies in the state, as appropriate, that will help Tennessee move closer to reaching its waste reduction and diversion goals.
- Objective 6: Expand and Focus Education and Outreach – improve education and outreach in Tennessee regarding the opportunities for source reduction, recycling, and composting, and the benefits of these activities relative to disposal.
- Objective 7: Ensure Sufficient and Environmentally Sound Disposal – monitor MSW disposal capacity to be sure it is sufficient, and ensure that disposal facilities are maintained in an environmentally sound manner.
- Objective 8: Develop Sustainable Funding Sources for Sustainable Materials Management – ensure that the State and local governments have sustainable funding sources in place to develop and support programs to manage municipal solid waste and materials.
Is the 2025 Plan enforceable by law?
As adopted, the 2025 Plan itself does not have any force of law. However, achievement of objectives stated in the 2025 Plan may require the incorporation or modification of specific actions into statute or rule. Prior to establishment of such actions via statute or rule, the Department is required to go through additional processes.
What is the timeline for implementation of the 2025 Plan?
The 2025 Plan contains objectives, timeframes, and roles and responsibilities for implementing goals stated within the plan over a ten-year period (through 2025). Specific action items necessary to implement the objectives, strategies and tactics are determined annually and based upon available resources, need and opportunities. Implementation updates will be shared on the web site and in the Annual Report to the Governor and General Assembly.
Who is responsible for implementing the 2025 Plan?
Objectives, strategies, and tactics included in the 2025 Plan have been crafted such that the Department is one of the primary entities responsible for implementation. However, the successful execution of all objectives, strategies, and tactics are dependent upon active participation and contribution from communities, businesses, and industries across the state.
How will implementation of the 2025 Plan affect my community?
Each of the eight objectives includes strategies and tactics that that may be implemented at a number of different levels. For example, some actions may be implemented within the Department’s internal processes; some actions may be implemented at the state government level via legislation, rule, policy, or program offerings which may impact local government operations and/or policies.
What are the benefits associated with reducing waste disposal and increasing recycling?
In 2015, the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries conducted a study of the economic impacts of recycling in the U.S. and on a state-by-state level. The study revealed that in Tennessee:
- The scrap recycling industry provided 4,428 direct jobs, $338 million in wages, and an overall economic impact of $1.3 million in 2015.
- When indirect benefits were included, there were 13,760 jobs attributable to scrap recycling in Tennessee, $846 million in wages, and a total economic impact of $2.9 billion.