- UT currently diverts 26.4% of its waste through reuse, recycling, composting, and donations
- Achieving 50% will save UT about $90,000 in waste collection and disposal fees annually
- UT is one of the first schools in the SEC to formally commit to a Zero Waste goal of this kind
The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has committed to divert 50% of its waste from the landfill by 2030, as announced by Chancellor Donde Plowman in January 2020. Reaching this goal will be our first step toward becoming a Zero Waste institution. As of the start of 2022 we are currently only diverting 26.4% of our waste which leaves us only 8 years to double our efforts.
Read the Commitment Press Release
Current & Future Efforts
On average, we compost more than 1000 tons of food and landscaping waste per year.
My Tiny Trash
This is just one method we use to increase awareness of the waste we produce and how to recycle properly, one office at a time.
Recycled materials make money for the university! Recycle using campus bins or by visiting our 24/7 public drop-off location.
The Free Store is a community-based resource meant to help UT students reduce their environmental impact and save money.
In 2019 we recovered and donated over 21,000 lbs. of food to community members in need with help from the Food Recovery Network.
Zero Waste Game Day
Students and staff volunteer to help fans recycle on Rocky Top.
Zero Waste Events
Make all on-campus events with more than 400 attendees Zero Waste.
Bins and Signage
Complete campus-wide implementation of My Tiny Trash and standardized recycling bin signage.
Expand compostable material collection to offices and public campus spaces.
Develop standardized procedures for food and material recovery to make affordable necessities more readily available to students.
Reusable To-Go Containers
Implement a reusable container program in all VolDining locations.
Eliminate single-use disposables wherever possible and establish sustainable purchasing guidelines.