Recycling Coalition's Program Grows

Amid the brick storefronts of downtown Knoxville's South Gay Street, near architectural firms and artists' galleries, now sits the headquarters for the Knoxville Recycling Coalition.  The nonprofit moved its offices last year to save rent and become more centrally located.

"We're getting a lot of Christmasy stuff," said Executive Director Frank Sewell, when I asked about all of the large foam packing materials accumulating in his office.  He said several bags of polysterene had already been transferred after Christmas to the warehouse area where the stuff gets formed into blocks.  People drop off the foam, usually in large bags, and pay a $5 fee for a new 100-gallon bag to fill.  This is a needed service since curbside recyclers typically won't accept polystyrene.  Sewell said KRC recycled 300 bags in 2011, up from 185 in the first year of the polysterene program.  Although more people are using this service, Sewell noted, "that's just a small part of what we do in the bigger picture."

Executive Director Frank Sewell
Knoxville Recycling Coalition
The recycling group serves businesses, churches and other nonprofits by offering low-cost paper recycling services.  This past year it began enlisting Americorps members to bike along seven miles of Knoxville greenways and collect recyclables.

Perhaps most importantly, the KRC educates the public through various outreach programs with the city and other community groups.  A stack of small recycling bins sits in the office, left over from a  citywide event where they were handed out to the public.  The group also sells small backyard composting bins to encourage keeping compostable materials like food peelings out of the garbage.  For more information about the Knoxville Recycling Coalition, go to

Tomorrow:  ways to precycle by reducing packaging

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