Skip to Main Content

TDEC COVID-19 Response and Resources

TDEC Awards Nearly $4 Million To Combat Food Waste

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 | 11:38am

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) announced today $3,743,474 in grants to support the reduction of food waste and other organic matter from entering landfills.

“Food and yard waste currently make up nearly 30 percent of what we throw away,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Besides taking up landfill space, organics produce harmful emissions that affect our air quality. These funded projects take direct aim at supporting the beneficial reuse of a common waste stream while protecting Tennessee’s clean air.”

A total of 13 grants have been awarded to counties, private entities and nonprofit organizations. The majority of the grantees is based in Davidson County and includes the Country Music Foundation, the Nashville Food Project and the Society of Saint Andrew. The largest grant – more than $1 million – was awarded to Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee to procure a variety of food preservation and packaging equipment.

“We are so thankful for the opportunity that TDEC has given us through this grant to rescue discarded food for hungry people,” said Jaynee K. Day, president/CEO of Second Harvest. “These funds will make it possible for millions of pounds of food that would otherwise be wasted to end up instead on the tables of hungry children, families and seniors.”

Grant recipients must use the funds to reduce organic waste through physical services or by other means, including but not limited to: education, food recovery and donation, feeding animals, industrial uses, anaerobic digestion and composting.

“This partnership with TDEC will help us increase the capacity of organics recycling in Sevier County by 30 percent,” said Tom Leonard, general manager of Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. “This support will help us continue to process our growing waste stream while also giving other businesses a place to send organic waste besides a landfill.”

Grant dollars are made possible by the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Fund, which is authorized by the Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 and administered by TDEC. The fund receives revenues from a state surcharge on each ton of solid waste disposed in landfills as well as a fee on new tires sold within the state.

In 2015, TDEC initiated the first-ever organics management funding opportunity on behalf of the state with a goal targeted at increasing composting. More than $5 million has been awarded to a variety of public and private entities since then.

For more information, visit





Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee



Two electric pallet jacks; Tennant floor scrubber; racking; reach truck; ride on pallet jack; two wrap machines; two floor scales; five roll-up freezers and reefer doors; three freezer units; two refrigerator units; three AiroCide units; eight RF access points; three thermal printers; building capital; supplies

The Compost Company



Engineering professional fee; truck; processing pads; maintenance shop and facilities; loading dock; expansion of existing processing pad; hybrid wheel loader; mixer; 25 cy capacity hopper; dump truck; conveyor; air lift trash separator; grinder; greenhouse; supplies

Compost Nashville



10 cubic yard collection truck

Country Music Foundation



15, 4-bin waste separation receptacle; 20 bins for kitchen composting; scale and batteries; bin to separate compost; seven cases of composting bags; garden box surround for garden nuts; garden system plants and materials; PH acid solution; water chiller; four months of  composting service

Metro Government of Nashville and Davidson County



750 backyard compost containers; 200 educational programs

The Nashville Food Project



Two walk-in coolers with shelving; walk-in freezer with shelving; dry storage with shelving; produce washing area with sink; 10x10 walk-in freezer; two 16 ft. refrigerated trucks; two electric pallet jacks with scale; cargo van; two forklifts; supplies

The Society of Saint Andrew



7,717 pieces of farmer recruitment information; advertisements; four Hands On Nashville memberships; supplies

Tennessee Environmental Council



Professional fees; salaries; travel; supplies

Interlocal Solid Waste Authority



12x20 storage shed; 7x12 enclosed trailer; 250 backyard composters; 10,000 advertising flyers; 60 compost turners; 60 kitchen compost collections; 7x12 enclosed trailer;12x20 storage shed; 250 notebooks

Franklin County



Wood chipper

Putnam County



Bobcat; truck with lift; concrete pad; 500, 64-gallon containers; 300 food waste collection containers; 800 units of home composting equipment

Sevier Solid Waste, Inc.



Re-slope D1 and D2 and labor; gear; ring and ring flange; pinion; thrust roller; two doors and actuators; supplies

Hoffman Composting



Transfer of photovoltaics shed; disassembly and reassembly of photovoltaics; roof materials, freight and installation