2015 - 2025 Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan

Objective 4: Increase Diversion of Organics

Description of Objective

Objective 4 in the 2015-2025 Tennessee Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan details TDEC's goal to increase diversion and reduction of organic waste. TDEC made substantial progress toward this objective in the past year.

To encourage composting and beneficial use of organics, TDEC awarded 5 composting grants totaling $2,486,303 in January 2016.  Since then, TDEC has identified several state facilities where composting should be prioritized and has provided technical assistance for food scraps composting to Henry Horton and Natchez Trace State Parks.  TDEC’s new composting regulations went into effect on July 7, 2016.

TDEC is proud to announce the launch of our organics website consisting of guides to organics source reduction, organics reuse, and organics recycling.  Some of the topics include:  food donations, gleaning, feeding animals, grasscycling, composting, mulch production and use, biofuels, and creating less organic waste.  Additional topics such as anaerobic digestion and reclaimed lumber will be covered in the future.

The Division of Solid Waste Management held a roundtable discussion on October 6, 2016 to engage local state agencies, private businesses and industry, educational institutions, and non-profits on the opportunities and obstacles to food waste reduction and diversion in middle Tennessee. The Department used the information gleaned from this discussion to tailor the then future Organics Management Grant criteria. 

On the same day, TDEC held an education and outreach event in cooperation with Nashville's Metro Government, Nashville Farmers Market, the Mayor's Office, Second Harvest, Nashville Food Project, NRDC, and The Compost Company.  This Food Waste Reduction and Diversion public event was held at the Nashville Farmers Market and featured a screening of the film Just Eat It, local exhibitors, announcements, and food waste reduction demonstrations.

Please review the 2016 Food Waste Reduction Policy Paper  for a brief summary of research completed by TDEC Offices of Sustainable Practices and Policy and Planning to document current efforts in Southeastern States to address wasted food and food waste reduction upstream of composting. This report identifies recommendations for opportunities for further wasted food and food waste reduction upstream of composting to be pursued for implementation in Tennessee. 

Recently, TDEC was asked to give a presentation titled “Upstream/Downstream Analysis of Organics in Tennessee” on an EPA conference call.  Follow this link to view the presentation and hear the recording.    

Input Opportunity

We value the input provided by all our stakeholders during this process. The best way to participate is to visit our website often and share your comments and areas of interest via our new 2025 Plan Public Participation comment form.  

Objective 4 Participation Opportunities:

Organics Webinar

TDEC is hosting a webinar for those interested in starting a medium to large compost facility in Tennessee on June 21st at 1pm CDT.  This webinar will briefly cover the following topics:  types of composting, feedstocks needed, site selection, permitting, partnerships, and available grants. Register for this webinar here.

Composting Workshop​

TDEC will host an all-day composting workshop in Franklin on July 13, 2017 from 8:30-3:30 CDT.  This workshop is for anyone interested in starting a medium to large-scale composting facility is welcome to attend.  This workshop is a continuation of the webinar on June 21st.  Topics include developing residential composting, developing medium to large scale composting, city yard waste composting, and the composting permit process.  The workshop includes a site tour of an operating composting site.  The Compost Company is sponsoring a lunch, so all interested persons should RSVP by clicking on this link and following the instructions.

Prompt Questions

1.  What other content would you like to be included on TDEC's Organics website?

2.  What items or projects would you like to be funded through an organics grant?

3.  Do you have any recommendations that would increase the diversion of organics statewide?