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, with returns to independent redemption centers. Launched in 2005 as the Tennessee Bottle Bill Project, TennCan is hosted by Scenic Tennessee, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered in Tennessee and dedicated to the scenic beauty of the Volunteer State. Scenic Tennessee is an affiliate of the national organization Scenic America.

The Camden Garden Club welcomes the Cycling for Recycling Tour to Benton County (October 2007). Left to right: Donna Brown, Luwanna Bawcum, Marge Davis, Jen Whitehead and Mary Benton.

The Camden Garden Club welcomes the Cycling for Recycling Tour to Benton County (October 2007). Left to right: Donna Brown, Luwanna Bawcum, Marge Davis, Jen Whitehead and Mary Benton.

TennCan's efforts are supported by a diverse network of individuals, groups and businesses, from garden clubs and trout fishermen to chambers of commerce and major manufacturers.

We connect with a global network of groups, businesses and agencies advocating more a more sustainable economy through recycling, and we work closely with the Container Recycling Institute, a California-based research and advocacy nonprofit organization with an international reputation for expertise, objectivity and collaboration across all sectors of the recycling and policy-making worlds.


MJD headshot with bottle fullsize edited.jpg

Marge Davis, Ph.D.
TennCan coordinator

In 2004, when two east Tennessee legislators—Sen. Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) and Rep. Russell Johnson (R-Loudon)—filed a new container deposit bill in the state legislature, Marge Davis and her organization, Scenic Tennessee, offered to coordinate grassroots support. But this wasn’t Marge’s first foray into bottle bills. When she moved here from Maine (the nation’s third bottle-bill state) in 1979, Tennessee was hard at work on a deposit-return bill, and Marge got involved. Though that early effort failed—legislators opted for a litter tax on beverages instead—many of the participating groups and individuals are part of the TennCan network today.

Marge is 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. She has a doctorate in English from Vanderbilt and taught briefly at the University of Wisconsin before switching gears to focus on writing. (Her first writing job was the “tools and technology” reporter at a woodworking magazine in Connecticut.) Over the years she has written for a wide range of Tennessee conservation organizations and publications, including The Tennessee Conservationist (magazine of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation), Tennessee Wildlife (magazine of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency), The Nature Conservancy of Tennessee, the Tennessee Environmental Council and the Waste Reduction Assistance Program within the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services, where she profiled the success stories of dozens of Tennessee businesses.

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. She’s currently at work on an update.

Marge is married to Paul Davis, former director of TDEC’s Division of Water Pollution Control. They live on Old Hickory Lake in Wilson County with their dogs Emma and Charlie.