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ROY Award Winners

The Tennessee Recycling Coalition is pleased to announce the 2023 Recycler of the Year Awards. TRC’s Recycler of the Year awards recognize individuals, organizations, and businesses, in the State of Tennessee that have demonstrated a commitment and outstanding achievement to waste prevention and recycling. Lincoln Young, President of Tennessee Recycling Coalition, announced the Annual Recycler of the Year award during a ceremony at Park Vista in Gatlinburg, TN. Each year TRC honors the most dedicated and successful individuals and organizations working to advance recycling in our State. The ceremony is a highlight of three days of learning and networking organized by the Tennessee Recycling Coalition and the TN Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The TN Recycling Coalition commends the applicants for their contributions, and we congratulate the winners in each category.

Government Recycler of the Year: Blount County Highway Department

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Blount County received a glass pulverizer earlier this year allowing Maryville to become one of the few places in Tennessee outside the larger metropolitan areas to be able to recycle glass. The facility opened in 2022 and has received multiple awards since its opening. Residents can recycle glass and do not have to sort it by color or remove labels. The glass pulverizer is able to filter glass through a Trommel screen that separates labels and other waste from recycled glass. The machine can process 10 tons of waste glass in an hour and turn it into fine sand or grounded glass gravel with rounded edges.

Business Recycler of the Year: Recycle Aerosol

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Recycle Aerosol(RA) is located in Bells, TN, and the company has been in the B2B recycling business since 1989, when it was formed to handle retail consumer product returns, including the sorting, inspecting, repacking for resale and/or recycling/destruction for our customers – manufacturers, brand owners, and others within the consumer products supply chain. 

Ideally, empty aerosols are captured by our residential and commercial recycling infrastructure in the US through the Material Recycling Facilities (MRFs) which separate the captured recyclables from our communities and sell them as recycled commodities.   In the case of aerosols, because these non-empty aerosols are pressurized containers that sometimes have flammable contents that MRFs are not equipped to manage, a more carefully engineered and robust process is required to safely recycle them. RA recycles millions of pounds of aerosols annually.

In 2021, RA created a new strategic partnership for the ongoing production of high-purity aluminum scrap going back into aluminum aerosol production.  In 2023, RA developed a smelting process that will allow it to produce high-purity aluminum ingots in Bells for return to manufacturers to produce more aluminum aerosol cans – closed-loop recycling! RA has been demonstrating and refining aerosol recycling for two generations, and we continue pushing the circularity envelope.

Recycle Aerosol's proximity to the West TN Recycling Hub (Chester County MRF) has also been beneficial.  They work together on plastic recycling projects and recycling the curbside aerosols that are brought to the MRF.  Those curbside aerosols are additionally part of a national study to establish a baseline and advance the broader recyclability of used aerosols.

Nonprofit Recycler of the Year: Keep Tennessee River Beautiful, Dollywood, and Keep Tennessee Beautiful 

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Last year, Dollywood partnered with the river cleanup nonprofit, Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB), on a massive cigarette litter prevention project, making Dollywood the first theme park in the world to recycle the plastic from every cigarette butt collected in guest-facing receptacles on its property. KTNRB was able to provide Dollywood with 26 art-wrapped cigarette receptacles through a collaboration of grants and sponsorships from Keep America Beautiful, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the American Eagle Foundation. There were 26 cigarette receptacles installed throughout Dollywood as part of a recycling project with Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful. The cigarette butts collected are shipped to TerraCycle for the plastic microfibers found in cigarette filters to be recycled into outdoor plastic furniture.

TN Top Leader Award- Bill Anderson

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Bill has been the Solid Waste Director in Franklin County for 9 years.  Mr Anderson was made a co-chair for the TN Solid Waste Directors’ Association after three years of service and held the position for three years.  He served on the Interlocal Solid Waste Authority board made up of 4 counties and the City of Tullahoma, has a BS degree from MTSU, and also serves as a county commissioner.  Last year the Franklin County Solid Waste Department recycled and diverted over 6000 tons of material from landfills in TN.  For the last two years, the Department has been cost-neutral on landfill material and recycling/diversion savings at a total of $650,000. Anderson operates one of the biggest wood waste operations in southeast TN and our end product goes to the papermill in Stevenson AL, and Lebanon to their WTE facility.  He operates a 3.2-million-dollar annual budget with 20 sites, a small fleet of commercial trucks, and 45 employees.  He has been a member of the TN Army National Guard for 19. 5 years and has two combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan.  He is married with 4 children and two grandchildren who have him wrapped around their fingers.   

Tom Hattle Memorial Award Larry Wright

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Larry Wright is the Director of the Resource Authority of Sumner County.  Larry was born and raised in Knoxville, TN and began his working career with TVA as an equipment Operator.  In 1982, Larry moved to the Middle TN area to work on the TVA facility in Sumner County.  In 1984, he moved from that position to accept a job with the Resource Authority.  Larry was hired to operate an overhead crane working to feed the incineration plant at the Resource Authority. Larry went from an operator to a foreman and then moved up to Solid Waste Director in 2001.  Larry constructed and operated the incineration plant making clean electricity and steam until the plant was shut down in 2005.  Along with the incinerator, Larry also operates a Materials Recovery Facility where they sorted all comingled solid waste to remove recyclables from 2001 to 2015. Larry is retiring this fall after serving 42 years at RASCO.  In his tenor, he has been involved in starting, stopping, and developing waste and recycling programs in his community which include the recycling of wood, tires, transfer stations, MRF, convenience centers, and a host of other duties as the

Solid Waste Director.

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