The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and its partners will celebrate Tennessee’s inaugural Zero Waste Day on Oct. 27 to raise awareness about waste in Tennessee and educate citizens on actions they can take to reduce it. “Now is the time for Tennessee to reconsider the way we think about waste,” TDEC Commissioner David Salyers said. “TDEC and its partners encourage Tennesseans to focus on reducing their waste by being aware of where it comes from and where it is going, and to make responsible decisions along the way.”
TDEC and several local and regional partners including the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Tennessee Environmental Council, the Southeast Recycling Development Council, and the Tennessee Recycling Coalition are challenging Tennesseans to improve their waste habits. In 2018, Tennesseans produced 8.1 million tons of waste, which amounted to 6.56 pounds of waste generated per person each day. This is 31.7 percent more waste generated per person each day than the national average of 4.51 pounds of waste per person per day.
Throughout October leading up to Zero Waste Day, TDEC will provide daily zero waste tips on social media. These waste reduction tips will be useful, cost-effective ideas that can be easily implemented by all Tennesseans. On Zero Waste Day, TDEC and its partners are encouraging citizens to participate in challenges that support each of the following five waste reduction actions:
Re-think – Adjust your behavior as a consumer and make purchasing choices that limit your impact on the environment.
Reduce – Be mindful of unnecessary and wasteful items and learn to live without them.
Reuse – Give possessions a second life through creative reuse, repurposing, or donation.
Recycle – Use existing products to create new ones and reduce dependence on virgin materials and associated natural resource impacts.
Re-Earth – Compost your organics to divert the single largest waste stream from landfills.
“By adopting these Zero Waste principles, we can greatly reduce our impact on Tennessee’s environment, preserve our natural resources for future generations, and reduce the growing costs associated with the collection and disposal of our solid waste,” TDEC Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices Director Kendra Abkowitz said.