2015 - 2025 Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan

Objective 1: Updating Goals and Measuring Progress

Description of Objective

The purpose of this objective is to establish more robust solid waste management goals, to more accurately measure the disposition of municipal solid waste (MSW) in Tennessee, and to better assess progress toward achieving those goals. As part of this objective TDEC will also develop and conduct training to help local governments understand how to accurately measure and report.

Over the past year, TDEC has focused efforts toward effectively implementing the 2025 Solid Waste and Materials Management Plan and specifically toward updating the state diversion goal.  At this time, the Objective 1 working group has recommended postponing the goal update and focusing on consistent reporting and data accuracy.

External Working Group

The purpose of the external working group is to provide an opportunity for TDEC to collaborate with local governments on effective and efficient implementation of the 2025 Plan. Representatives include TDEC’s Division of Solid Waste Management and Office of Policy and Planning as well as local governments representing diverse solid waste and recycling programs. Volunteer members recruited by TDEC and the Tennessee Solid Waste Director's Association (TSWDA) have committed to a series of working meetings aimed to deliver interim work outcomes and build support to successfully implement the 2025 Plan. Recently, the non-profit environmental organization, Tennessee Environmental Council, joined the working group to provide another perspective on further developing an Integrated Solid Waste Management Systems for Tennesseans. 

TDEC Division of Solid Waste Management continues to encourage feedback via the public participation form at the bottom of this page. In an effort to provide regular updates and encourage input, the 2025 Plan Objective 1 working group members will share minutes following each meeting. After the working group meeting the Objective 1 and 8 webpages will be updated to reflect working group efforts. The next meeting is to be determined. The current minutes for the previous four meetings can be found below.


Initial work to update the 25% diversion goal included the efforts of an Objective 1 working group that researched and evaluated other state goals, analyzed statewide municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal, recycling and diversion data, and hosted a series stakeholder input meetings to share new goal recommendations.   

Much of the stakeholder input was focused on funding and costs, terminology, data and measurement, and fail-safes. Based on input concerning data accuracy the working group conducted further analysis of the data at the regional level. The working group concluded that TDEC was not in a position to make a sound decision for updating the state goal due to inconsistent fluctuations annually in the reported data for MSW disposal, recycling and diversion.

Postponing the goal update for 2-3 years will allow TDEC to focus on improving the quality of the data and preventing reporting inconsistency to better understand current disposal and recycling conditions. TDEC will also review reporting requirements and the Annual Progress Report format to make it easier to submit data.

TDEC has formed a working group with the Solid Waste Directors Association to get better input on what goals and measures would work best with the counties’ current activities.  Updated information about the working group progress will be shared on the Objective 1 and 8 webpages of the 2025 Plan website.

There will be many opportunities to be involved in the implementation of the Plan.  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.