Who We Are
TennCan is an all-volunteer effort to increase recycling, reduce litter, create jobs, support green manufacturing and strengthen communities in Tennessee, by advocating for a refundable 5-cent deposit on glass, plastic and aluminum beverage containers. Launched in 2005 as the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project, TennCan is hosted by Scenic Tennessee, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to the scenic beauty of the Volunteer State. Scenic Tennessee is an affiliate of the national organization Scenic America.
TennCan's efforts are supported by a broad network of local, regional and statewide volunteers and organizations: school groups, garden clubs, hunting and fishing organizations, social-service agencies, scrap processors, farmers, manufacturers, environmental organizations, tourism councils, chambers of commerce, numerous county commissions and sheriffs offices and a growing number of Tennessee legislators. The campaign is overseen by coordinator Marge Davis, president of Scenic Tennessee, a past member of the Governor's Advisory Council for Keep Tennessee Beautiful, and a member of the executive board of the Container Recycling Institute, a national research and advocacy organization.
Marge has a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt University and has written extensively on conservation, conservation history and waste-reduction issues. Before she left the salary-earning world to devote herself full time to advocacy, she worked as a writer and editor. As publications editor for the Waste Reduction Assistance Program of the University of Tennessee's Center for Industrial Services (part of the Institute for Public Service and the Tennessee Manufacturing Extension Partnership), she profiled the waste-reduction efforts, challenges and success stories of dozens of Tennessee businesses, from the very large to the very small. Her articles have appeared in The Tennessee Conservationist (magazine of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation) and Tennessee Wildlife (magazine of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency). Her 1997 book, Sportsmen United: The Story of the Tennessee Conservation League, is considered the most authoritative account to date of the conservation history of Tennessee starting in the 1800s. (If you'd like a copy, send her a note.)
Marge grew up in Portland, Maine, and graduated from Bates College the same year (1976) that Maine voters passed the nation's third deposit-return law, by a referendum vote of 57 percent. When she joined the staff of the Maine Audubon Society a year later, deposit opponents had just launched a multi-million-dollar effort to do away with the new "bottle bill." Maine Audubon led the campaign to save the bill, and in 1979, in what is still on record as the largest turnout in Maine referendum history, determined voters upheld their container deposit law by an overwhelming margin of 84 percent.
By then Marge had moved to Nashville and was involved in Tennessee's first effort to pass its own bottle bill. Though that initial legislation failed, it launched a support network that is still in force today. Please join us!