Our Mission

For 15 years, we have built grassroots momentum to pass a 5¢ refundable deposit on glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers sold in Tennessee, with returns to independent redemption centers. The need for this program has grown in recent months, with almost-daily headlines about the health and environmental hazards of plastic pollution, the pending closure of landfills, the mounting challenges to municipal recycling programs, the call for clean recycled feedstock by domestic manufacturers and the ongoing economic needs of Tennessee’s schools, charities and rural areas. The #TennCan container deposit proposal (AKA “bottle bill”) will divert billions of single-use containers from our landfills and waterways and generate millions of dollars for neighborhood businesses and community causes. Our empties are full of opportunities!

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Why is a TennCan container deposit
vital for the future of Tennessee?
Watch & find out!

Redemption Centers:
The Heart of TennCan


Under TennCan, we won’t redeem our empties at the grocery store. Instead, we’ll take them to any of hundreds of small, independent businesses known as “redemption centers,” where the containers are sorted manually or electronically and sold to willing scrap buyers. Every redemption center will have at least one nonprofit “buddy,” such as a school, library or animal shelter, to receive donated refunds. And some redemption centers will be owned by nonprofits!









New York

New York




Key Numbers

The 10 states (and nearly 40 other jurisdictions around the world) that currently have container deposits have more than double the container recycling rate of states that do not. Because containers are sorted individually with a deposit-return system, the purity of recycled material is also much higher, which ensures strong markets and commands premium scrap prices.



Containers That will be recycled every year

Tennessee has one of the lowest container recycling rates in the US, at 10%. With a 5¢ deposit, we can expect this number to go to 80%! This means more than 3 BILLION containers kept out of our landfills and waterways each year.



Taxpayer money saved

TennCan will save at least $10 million per year in waste collection, hauling, landfilling and litter removal costs by capturing nearly 200,000 tons of waste, and diverting it into a circular economy.



Small Businesses created

The bottle bill creates a need (and business opportunity) for redemption centers. It will also drive demand for other jobs in transportation, recycling and manufacturing.

Image courtesy of the Tennessee Aquarium

Image courtesy of the Tennessee Aquarium

“…having watched the litter problem get steadily worse over the years, I am now convinced that the only way to change littering behavior once and for all is to make beverage containers too valuable to throw away.”

Bob Keast (owner of Birdsong Resort, Marina and Campground, Camden, Benton County)

*from testimony to the State Senate Committee on Environment, Conservation and Tourism, April 2008 


More good stuff


Reduced Microplastics in our water

The Tennessee River has among the highest surface levels of microplastic pollution on record! Extremely high levels of littering and landfilling in the Southeast are thought to be a major contributor to our microplastic problem. TennCan will help keep our waters clean!

Support for manufacturing

US manufacturers are hungry for the high-quality container scrap that the TennCan bottle bill will produce.

benefits to Schools & nonprofits

TennCan will generate at least $8 million per year in donated refunds for schools, nonprofits and community causes. And that doesn’t include the additional millions that can be earned by nonprofit organizations who choose to operate their own redemption centers.

increased effeciency

TennCan will enhance existing recycling programs by reducing contamination, expanding scrap markets and encouraging redemption center “depots” where the public may drop off non-deposit recyclables.

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Get Involved

TennCan will not succeed without the support of Tennesseans like you!


(1) Sign Up For Emails

We’ll keep you informed on our progress and how you can take action.


(2) join the tenncan ACTion network

Join hundreds of your fellow Tennesseans who are actively involved in promoting deposit-return for Tennessee.


(3) Contact your state reps

Tell your reps in the Tennessee State Legislature why this bill is important to you and why they should support it.


(4) join the list of business and organization endorsers

Add the name of your group or company to the growing list of entity supporters across the state.


(5) Follow us


(6) Share the video

Tell your networks why you care about TennCan & they should, too!


(7) donate

Your tax-deductible gift to TennCan’s host organization Scenic Tennessee, a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, will help ensure the success of this effort.

Thank you for your support, on behalf of TennCan and future generations of Tennesseans!