Model City ProfileModel City Profile

Knoxville, Tennessee
Population: 178,874
Bottle Bill: No
Collection Method: Contractor
Funding: General Fund
Households Served: 20,000
Truck Type: Side Loaders, semi-automatic cart tippers
Container Type: 64 gallon carts for recycling
Materials Processing Facility: Single stream processing
Knoxville, Tennessee

The City of Knoxville wanted to increase participation in recycling without adding to the municipal budget. Knoxville had an extensive “24/7” drop‐off recycling program for a wide range of recyclables with eleven locations throughout the City, and subscription curbside recycling was available (for a fee) from two different haulers. Roughly 12 percent of households participated in drop-off recycling and about 3 percent in subscription collection.

The City offered free refuse collection to all 1-4 family households (58,800) with roughly 25 percent receiving “backdoor” collection service under a grandfathered arrangement. The City’s contracted hauler Waste Connections used a smaller truck to travel up many driveways to collect refuse from the garage or backdoor and was paid a higher rate per household for this extra service.

Through a grant from The Climate Group and the “Recycle Together” Model Cities Initiative partner, American Beverage Association (ABA), Knoxville’s current solid waste and recycling system and the costs of different options to increase recycling were analyzed. The analysis included an assessment of recycling drop off users and a characterization of the municipal solid waste stream (both performed by the University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products with guidance from DSM Environmental Services). The waste characterization enabled the City to estimate current recovery from subscription households and the potential for increased recycling among different neighborhoods. The drop off user assessment revealed that an estimated 25 percent of the material collected was from non city residents and businesses, and that roughly 12 percent of City households used the drop-off.

Cost estimates to increase residential recycling were developed by DSM Environmental (DSM), and compared against the costs of the current system in order to identify opportunities to reduce system costs while increasing recycling. The results were presented by the DSM and The Climate Group team to the City Council in a public workshop format, and later to the Mayor’s Office and the Knoxville Energy and Sustainability Task Force. Curbside recycling collection using large volume carts for single stream material was recommended, with every other week collection and a sign up process for cart delivery and collection service offered as methods to reduce costs.

The City of Knoxville wanted to increase participation in recycling without adding to the municipal budget. Knoxville had an extensive “24/7” drop‐off recycling program for a wide range of recyclables with eleven locations throughout the City, and subscription curbside recycling was available (for a fee) from two different haulers. Roughly 12 percent of households participated in drop-off recycling and about 3 percent in subscription collection.

The City offered free refuse collection to all 1-4 family households (58,800) with roughly 25 percent receiving “backdoor” collection service under a grandfathered arrangement. The City’s contracted hauler Waste Connections used a smaller truck to travel up many driveways to collect refuse from the garage or backdoor and was paid a higher rate per household for this extra service.

Through a grant from The Climate Group and the “Recycle Together” Model Cities Initiative partner, American Beverage Association (ABA), Knoxville’s current solid waste and recycling system and the costs of different options to increase recycling were analyzed. The analysis included an assessment of recycling drop off users and a characterization of the municipal solid waste stream (both performed by the University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products with guidance from DSM Environmental Services). The waste characterization enabled the City to estimate current recovery from subscription households and the potential for increased recycling among different neighborhoods. The drop off user assessment revealed that an estimated 25 percent of the material collected was from non city residents and businesses, and that roughly 12 percent of City households used the drop-off.

Cost estimates to increase residential recycling were developed by DSM Environmental (DSM), and compared against the costs of the current system in order to identify opportunities to reduce system costs while increasing recycling. The results were presented by the DSM and The Climate Group team to the City Council in a public workshop format, and later to the Mayor’s Office and the Knoxville Energy and Sustainability Task Force. Curbside recycling collection using large volume carts for single stream material was recommended, with every other week collection and a sign up process for cart delivery and collection service offered as methods to reduce costs.The City of Knoxville wanted to increase participation in recycling without adding to the municipal budget. Knoxville had an extensive “24/7” drop‐off recycling program for a wide range of recyclables with eleven locations throughout the City, and subscription curbside recycling was available (for a fee) from two different haulers. Roughly 12 percent of households participated in drop-off recycling and about 3 percent in subscription collection.

The City offered free refuse collection to all 1-4 family households (58,800) with roughly 25 percent receiving “backdoor” collection service under a grandfathered arrangement. The City’s contracted hauler Waste Connections used a smaller truck to travel up many driveways to collect refuse from the garage or backdoor and was paid a higher rate per household for this extra service.

Through a grant from The Climate Group and the “Recycle Together” Model Cities Initiative partner, American Beverage Association (ABA), Knoxville’s current solid waste and recycling system and the costs of different options to increase recycling were analyzed. The analysis included an assessment of recycling drop off users and a characterization of the municipal solid waste stream (both performed by the University of Tennessee Center for Clean Products with guidance from DSM Environmental Services). The waste characterization enabled the City to estimate current recovery from subscription households and the potential for increased recycling among different neighborhoods. The drop off user assessment revealed that an estimated 25 percent of the material collected was from non city residents and businesses, and that roughly 12 percent of City households used the drop-off.

Cost estimates to increase residential recycling were developed by DSM Environmental (DSM), and compared against the costs of the current system in order to identify opportunities to reduce system costs while increasing recycling. The results were presented by the DSM and The Climate Group team to the City Council in a public workshop format, and later to the Mayor’s Office and the Knoxville Energy and Sustainability Task Force. Curbside recycling collection using large volume carts for single stream material was recommended, with every other week collection and a sign up process for cart delivery and collection service offered as methods to reduce costs.

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