Education & Outreach Grant

Division of Solid Waste Management

Eligible Applicants:

Tennessee counties, cities, solid waste authorities, school districts, universities, and organizations which have been determined to be tax exempt nonprofit recycling organizations who are designated as 501(c)(3) by the Internal Revenue Service may apply for grants under T.C.A. § 68-211-847.

There are three priorities for this grant:

  • Applicants that develop public/private or public/public partnerships
  • Applicants that target an adult audience
  • Applicants that use the suggested Recycling Partnership templates to aid in the implementation of a Statewide Recycling Brand Campaign

Eligible Projects: 

The This education and outreach grant will be provided to help local governments produce outreach material needed to consistently promote waste reduction and recycling best practices for established solid waste programs. The primary purpose is to inform residents what they can recycle, where they can recycle, and when they can recycle. Only after meeting these basic needs should an applicant request funding for other purposes. The Recycling Education and Outreach Grant takes this into consideration by providing a tiered project recommendation system (below). If you operate a county convenience center or drop-off site, ensure that elements 1-4 have been achieved before focusing on other education and outreach program expansions. For curbside programs, the Department recommends ensuring the achievement of element 5 before considering other program expansions.

Where applicable, the Department recommends applying for projects along the following continuum to ensure that programs have at least the most critical outreach elements. The grant priority is to bring all programs up to at least the levels described in elements 1-5 before funding other projects outlined in elements 6-9. See Attachment 7 for examples and templates of such projects. The Department’s intent with this grant offer is to promote environmentally preferable purchasing in support of the 2015-2025 Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan Objective 3 to encourage the purchase of equipment made with recycled content, when available.

Applicable to Convenience Center/Drop-Off Priorities:

  • Clear and effective safety signage for both residents and employees at each convenience center or drop-off site.
  • Clearly labeled collection containers for materials.
  • Clear, professional, and easily identifiable facility entrance signs at each convenience center or drop-off site, displaying each location’s hours of operation.
  • A-Frame signage at each site (recommend at least 2-4 per site) displaying a targeted message to residents and providing physical barriers to aid in traffic flow.

Applicable to Curbside Recycling Programs:

  • Mailers, oops tags, scheduling magnets, informational stickers, and praise tags delivered on at least an annual basis intended to inform residents of desired changes or reinforce proper recycling behavior.

Potential Next Steps

  • Additional advertising to create a community culture of waste reduction and recycling (social media, truck signs, signs at stores and community buildings, utility bill stuffers, local newspaper advertisements, or other items that directly inform your residents).
  • An organized, well-advertised, and easily navigable website detailing recycling program policies and materials that are and are not accepted.
  • Community workshops, employee workshops, and local events to promote the recycling program.
  • Other education program expansions and partnerships with schools, non-profits, private entities, etc.

Promotional giveaways will only be funded if they are a part of a cohesive public education program and the local government already has each of the minimum suggested materials and measures in place. Other items will only be considered if they are part of a specific program and their use is justified in the Education and Outreach Technical Narrative Response section found in the Narrative Questions tab of the TDEC Online Grants System. The Department is especially interested in avoiding giveaway items that quickly increase the flow of solid waste.   

All educational/promotional materials must be pre-approved by the Department before being ordered, printed, and published, etc. Items that will NOT be funded include but are not limited to:

Yo-yos Frisbees Litterbags Book Covers
Toys Kitchen Utensils Slinky's (TM) Key Chains
Zipper Pulls Stickers Temporary Tattoos Hand Fans
Pencils/Pens Crayons Tote Bags Letter Openers

Furthermore, applicants previously awarded a grant of this type from the Solid Waste Management Fund in the last two years that are currently under contract with open balances or who have failed to meet the obligations of additional Division of Solid Waste Management grant contracts are ineligible.

Funding & Matching Requirements:

The Department has budgeted a total of $100,000 for Education and Outreach Grants. Applicants may request up to $20,000 for a proposed project. Please see the Education and Outreach Budget Worksheet document found in the Budget and Attachments tab of the TDEC Online Grants System. for specific funding guidance per capita. A match of 10-50% is required as indicated in Education and Outreach Grant Match Requirement document found in the Budget and Attachments tab of the TDEC Online Grants System.  In-kind contributions will not be considered.

Grant awards will be made based on the estimates included in the grant application and will not be increased. Applicants research the strategies and materials in which they plan to invest to obtain accurate price information prior to submitting their application. Only materials identified in the application will be funded.

If you are interested in applying for this grant offering, please register and apply via the TDEC Online Grants System.


Cavene McHayle

Program Administrator

Amber Greene

Environmental Consultant

Robin Chance

Grants Manager

Nicole Beers

Grants Analyst