City and Sundown Partner with Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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City and Sundown Partner with Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Posted: 04/10/2007
The City of Knoxville is pleased to be among the organizations partnering with Keep Knoxville Beautiful to make Sundown in the City a zero-waste event.

The weekly concert series that begins April 12 will bring thousands of music lovers to Market Square every Thursday evening into late June.But in addition to the beautiful sounds and good times the events will also produce a few thousand pounds of trash - something Knoxville would like to reduce.

With the help of Keep Knoxville Beautiful and it's other partners involved with a new waste reduction project the city hopes to do just that and keep thousands of pounds of trash out of its landfills.It approached Keep Knoxville Beautiful after it assisted in coordinating a zero waste effort to reduce waste materials at the 2006 Knoxville Earthfest from two tons to 150 pounds and asked if the organization could apply a similar strategy to Sundown in the City.

"We did a study at Sundown last year and found that between one-and-a-half to two to three tons (of trash) per show is generated depending on the attendance," said John Homa, the city's solid waste specialist. "It's food and drink wastes mostly and, sometimes people bring materials into the site that really should not be there. In addition, we've still got restaurants open downtown and the vendors for the shows."

"So it's quite a lot of material when you start to audit the site," he said.

Tom Salter, executive director of Keep Knoxville Beautiful, indicated that the organization was excited about the effort and noted that the 1.5 to 2 tons of wastes normally produced by the Sundown in the City concerts typically end up in our landfills.Organizing Sundown as a zero waste event means that the materials generated on site will be collected for composting and recycling.

City crews will take part in that effort.

Recycling booths will be set up around the concert site and recycling containers will be placed in visible areas. Vendors have also agreed to distribute recyclable plastics and corn-resin based materials instead of non-recyclable materials like Styrofoam and tin foil.

By limiting what is distributed and providing recycling and composting receptacles, the amount of trash sent to the landfill can be greatly reduced.

Salter indicated that everyone could play a role in this effort. "To make Sundown zero-waste successful we are going to need help from concert goers," he said. "We hope that Knoxville citizens will volunteer their time with us during the concert to monitor the recycling containers and change out bags if they get full. Volunteers are also needed to assist people who come to the recycle tents to throw their items in the correct containers." Salter and Catherine Wilt of the University of Tennessee have received a grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop the waste reduction process created for EarthFest 2006 and Sundown into a "Zero-waste Event Guide" for use across the Southeast.Other partners in the zero-waste effort with Keep Knoxville Beautiful are AC Entertainment, the Environmental Protection Agency, Advanced Polymer Recycling, Knoxville Area Chamber Partnership, University of Tennessee, SP Recycling and Knox County.