Solid Waste Planning

Regional Master Planning

GNRC, in partnership with local solid waste departments and the TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation, recently completed Middle Tennessee’s first regional master plan for solid waste. The effort was launched as a response to a call-to-action by the GNRC Mayors Caucus to build support and capacity for multi-jurisdictional coordination on a range of issues impacting local solid waste management. The scope of work included the following activities 

  • Organize and convene stakeholders and local experts; formation of a Solid Waste Directors RoundTable;
  • Inventory assets, policies, finances, and behaviors associated with solid waste systems;
  • Analyze trends and estimate future waste generation based on population and economic growth forecasts;
  • Identify existing and future needs of the private sector, local solid waste departments, and state government to address known and anticipated challenges;
  • Research and evaluate national/global best practices; prioritize solutions for improving solid waste planning and management across Middle Tennessee;
  • Identify legislation, policy, resources, and strategies for implementing recommendations.

The Plan serves as a regional framework to guide solid waste materials management. This document provides an overview of the solid waste industry, communicates the current state of solid waste across Middle Tennessee,  and offers recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of local and state programs. 

Regional Coordination

In 2017, GNRC launched the Solid Waste Directors' RoundTable to help improve coordination among county governments and municipalities on challenges related to funding, regulations, landfill capacity, recycling, and other issues affecting local solid waste operations. Through the RoundTable, GNRC convenes solid waste directors, or their equivalent, from cities and counties across Middle Tennessee to brainstorm strategies for preparing local solid waste systems for the future.  Members of this peer group meet regularly to asses trends impacting their operations, discuss the implications of ever-changing recycling markets and technologies, and monitor landfill capacity issues. Their research into area needs, coupled with their review of national and global best practices, have shaped the state’s first locally-driven regional-scale solid waste master plan.

In October 2022, the Regional Council adopted a resolution calling for the creation of a regional panel or "strike force'" composed of area leaders and experts in order to prioritize and champion initiatives to address Middle Tennessee’s current and emerging challenges related to solid waste.  The strike force will convene for the first time in February 2023 and has met about quarterly to advance its work. The roster includes 15 individuals representing the following sectors:

  • State Government
  •  Mayors and County Executives
  • Solid Waste Planning Region Boards
  • Local Solid Waste Directors
  • Solid Waste Companies
  • Non-Profit/ Community Organizations

Technical Analysis and Annual Reporting

GNRC works collaboratively with the TN Dept of Environment and Conservation, or TDEC, to fulfill requirements of the Tennessee Solid Waste Management Act of 1991 by monitoring ongoing progress to divert household waste away from landfills. Specifically, GNRC assists TDEC and local governments in preparing annual progress reports to the Governor as way of demonstrating compliance with the goals set by the state's 2015-2025 Solid Waste Management Plan.

GNRC's Research & Analytics Team has invested significant time in compiling and publishing information in an online data portal that showcases permitted convenience centers, processing facilities, transfer stations, and Class I/II/III/IV landfills located across the GNRC region. The portal will be updated regularly as new information is collected and processed.