Chattanooga’s 4 new pilot recycling programs

The 4 pitches took place as part of a Startup Week event | Photo via NOOGAtoday

The recycling scene? Littered with issues. 

Luckily, 4 local individuals + businesses recently pitched their pilot ideas to improve Chattanooga’s recycling program, which will all soon be piloted with funding from the City of Chattanooga to measure what works in our city.

♻️ The problems

  • Through single-stream recyclingwhich is used in most cities, including Chattanooga — many recycled materials actually end up in the landfill
  • It currently costs ~$600,000 for the city to send just food to the landfill, on top of collection costs.
  • Only 1/3 of glass is actually put into recycling bins, and less than half of that gets turned into something new.
  • In 2018, ~56% of items going into the MSW landfill could be recycled, but weren’t.

♻️ The pilots

Brian Wright, Green For Good | Brian’s idea comprises 3 smaller partnerships for home, work, and school:

  • Home | Utilize Hefty’s orange energy bag program
  • Work | Get businesses to partner with organizations that offer rebates for aluminum recycling, and potentially direct those rebates toward Habitat for Humanity
  • School | Use the Trex school outreach program that encourages students to collect plastic bags in a fun, competitive way for recycling

Mackenzie Tapley and Jimmy Urciuoli, with Green Steps | Update + create new recycling visuals and education outreach, including:

  • Informational magnets + stickers for recycling containers and bins
  • QR codes that can be updated and will provide education
  • Educational workshops on recycling

Chris Greenwood, Olivine Glass | Turning glass crushing into the primary glass recycling system in Chattanooga. Olivine Glass will:

  • Crush waste glass into the consistency of sand
  • Sell the “sand”which is currently in extremely high demand for construction — to various businesses
  • Work with the city to create concrete from the recycled sand 

Norm Lavoie and Michael Ryan, NewTerra Compost | NewTerra, the pitch’s audience choice award winner, focuses on food waste + composting.

  • A compost system allowing you to gather food waste that is then composted by NewTerra to use for soil — aka, you don’t have to do the composting yourself
  • Since all food waste is going in a separate container, this will cut down the number of garbage trucks needed, fuel used, and amount of waste going into landfills