Sen. Heidi Campbell’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Act gains key support

Bipartisan legislation, now backed by packaging industry, promises solution to Tennessee’s trash, landfill crisis

Tennessee Senate Democrats
2 min readMar 4, 2024


NASHVILLE — A group of industry giants is throwing its support behind Sen. Heidi Campbell’s Tennessee Waste Reduction & Recycling Act, a bipartisan bill that seeks to expand recycling infrastructure in the Volunteer State and ease the strain on crammed landfills.

The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance — including member companies Mars, Nestlé, Danone and Unilever — wrote a letter of support for Senate Bill 573, stating, “We know that passing this bill will take us another step closer to a waste and recycling future where companies like ours can set and meet ambitious packaging and recycling goals, consumers are educated to better navigate their local recycling systems, and we can all be better stewards of the environment.”

The bill has also gained bipartisan backing in the legislature, including senate sponsors Heidi Campbell, Frank Nicely, Charlane Oliver, Richard Briggs, Sara Kyle, and Raumesh Akbari.

This support comes at a critical time in the legislative session, as the bill is scheduled for a vote in the Senate committee on March 6.

“The support from the industry is a green light for advancing this critical legislation. I am confident my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will step up to support it and provide real solutions for our solid waste crisis,” says Sen. Campbell, D-Nashville. “This is the right thing for the people and economy of Tennessee.”

If approved, the legislation will shift many of the costs of recycling from local governments and taxpayers to the companies who produce the packaging that ends up as litter or trash in landfills. The companies that comprise the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance are advocating for this legislation that will ultimately improve recycling and make recycling opportunities more accessible to all Tennessee communities in the coming years.

“We are pleased that our state’s leadership and the companies that have a footprint in Tennessee are taking this challenge seriously and presenting a workable solution that benefits everybody,” says Jeffrey Barrie, CEO of Tennessee Environmental Council.

Approximately $162 million worth of recyclable materials are buried in Tennessee landfills every year, according to a report from Eunomia Research & Consulting and Ball Corporation. Recycling those materials would create 7,700 jobs and add up to $420 million annually to the state economy through wages, the report said.