Reduce our Holiday Footprint

The Holidays are an extremely busy time for everyone! So busy that we often forget the massive ecological footprint we are leaving behind! Waste is increased by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years. That is around 6 million tons of holiday waste being created this season. All of the added food waste, packaging, wrapping paper, ribbons, and more adds up to 1 million tons a week to our landfill. 1 million tons is a lot! How about this year we give the gift of reducing our holiday footprint with these easy ways!

  1. Turn off your Christmas lights

    As beautiful as the lights are during the holiday season, there is no need to leave them on all day! Not only does this save energy but will make your lights last longer. Maybe even take another step and purchase LED lights! LED lights not only last up to ten times longer, but use around 80% less energy than other incandescent lights.

  2. Send e-cards

    Every year families dress festively way too early in the year to snap a quick picture for their holiday card. Then they proceed to send this holiday card to friends and family members that they have not spoken to in years! Well I have an alternative. Ecards! Ecards are very fun, interactive, and best of all cheap. But guess what? They also reduce paper waste and can save you money! There are on average of 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the US! This could fill a football field 10 stories high. So consider an ecard this year.

  3. Gift Wrapping

This year let’s get creative with our wrapping! And by creative I mean Eco-Friendly and sustainable! Instead of using wrapping paper that heads right for the landfills, get creative with your presents. Use baskets, mason jars, decorative tins, or even fabric gift bags! In addition, try and save any gift bags for the following years.

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4. Food Waste

During the holiday season 40% of the food we make is wasted. There are many ways we can salvage our food and make the most out of it. One way is apparently the new trend for 2018! Eating from root to stem. This means including the less eaten root into your cooking! Read this Food Network article for some great tips! Another way to not waste as much food is to plan ahead. Know the number of guests you will be cooking for and plan accordingly.

5. Christmas Smells

Around Christmas time we want our home to smell welcoming and fresh. One way we tend to reach this goal is purchasing air fresheners to keep around the house. Air fresheners contribute to our poor air quality and contain many toxic chemicals that we can inhale! This year simmer some water, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and vanilla on a back burner to make your house smell wonderful! Here is an article on amazing scents you can make just from your stove stop!

6. Real or Fake tree?

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This is an age old debate of whether to get a real christmas tree or fake to ring in the holiday season. A real christmas tree will fill your home with a fresh evergreen scent. They are also extremely eco-friendly and aren’t made from PVC toxic plastics! Real trees are normally the most eco friendly way to go if disposed correctly. The best way is to have a facility take the tree and turn it into wood chippings or some other form of compost. But you can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of each here.

Take into consideration these holiday day tips to give back this season! Happy Holidays from KKB!

Let's eliminate single-use plastics

Single-Use plastics are only used once before they are thrown away. They litter our beaches and injure our marine life. We produce about 300 million tons of plastic each year and more than half of it can be disposable! Did you know that researchers discovered that 32 percent of our plastics end up unaccounted for-aka most likely in our oceans. We all play an unique role in solving the global plastic crisis and need to start taking strategic steps. Here is some information and ways that you can make a difference by eliminating some single-use plastics.

  1. Straws

    2018 might be the year that we finally kick straws. Americans use around 500 million straws a day in the United States. And for what reason? Straws are simply an item that humans can live without. Millions are handed out daily at restaurants and dropped in drinks without even a thought. It might seem harmless but, A Strawless Ocean states that straws are among the top ten items found during beach clean-ups and can harm turtles, seabirds, and other marine life.

    So one major step you can take is eliminating straws from your daily routine. But, if you desperately need a straw to enjoy your refreshments, considering purchasing a reusable straw.

  2. Plastic Bags

    Plastic bags are an extremely common form of litter world-wide. They have been blocking drainage systems, collecting in landfills, and pilling up under your sink for far too long. Plastic Bags are also extremely harmful to marine life, as they can become entangled and also ingest them. Individually, we each use about 83 plastic bags per year. That’s crazy!

    One simple way to put a stop to this madness- buy reusable bags. It’s BYOB time- bring your own bag. They make them with all sorts of designs so you can definitely find one to your liking! How about a punny one? Or one with animals in sunglasses on it? Or just a nice set of durable cheap ones? Look how easy it is to play your part.

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3. Bottled Water

After plastic bags, water bottles are one of the main forms of pollutants that end up on our shores and beaches. Each year, over 500 billion water bottles end up in our oceans, rivers, and lakes. Plastic Bottles take about three times as much water to produce than what they actually hold. Meaning, before even adding up all the energy it takes to produce bottles- plastic water bottles are already inefficient. What is even worse is that 80% of the plastic water bottles we purchase end up in landfills. They take forever to decompose and leak harmful chemicals into our environment during the process. Do I need to go on?

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Reusable Water Bottles. Buy one, refill it, and then refill it again. Stock your home with reusable stainless steel water bottles. Another measure you can take is purchasing a water filter, like a Brita. Keep one in your fridge for clean water anytime without the worry of purchasing plastic water bottles. And if you do end up grabbing a plastic water bottle on the go one day, make sure you recycle it.

Take into account these easy and affordable ways that we can take steps towards a plastic free life! Let’s get rid of these environmental nightmares together.

Spring Sustainability

It springtime in Knoxville which means enjoying the fresh outdoors and doing activities you love in the cool Tennessee air. By making simple changes to our daily lifestyles, we can make a positive impact in our communities and to the environment. Here are four ways to enjoy a more sustainable spring! 


1. Garden.  Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to get outside and avoid harmful pesticides found in grocery store foods. There are easy, tasty greens you can grow in your own home or garden for springtime eating! Also, growing fresh flowers around your home is a great tip for adding color and beauty to your property. Choose native pollinator plants to revive the health of our local bees and butterflies!


2. Clean with green products. When buying cleaning products, make sure they are environmentally friendly! Cleaners that contain harmful toxins, like chlorine and bleach, can be harmful. Eco friendly cleaners use citrus based solvents, vinegar, and essential oils to clean. 

Here are some simple cleaning mixes:

  • Combine liquid soap, lemon juice, borax and water to make a general cleaning spray
  • Combine baking soda and liquid soap for a tub-and-tile cleaner
  • Combine borax, washing soda and grated bar soap to make laundry detergent

For more recipes and product ideas:

3. Donate any unused/unwanted items to a local thrift store. When spring cleaning, sort out the clothing or furniture items taking up space in your home. This will not only help you de-clutter, but also provides used necessities for other families or people in need! 

Local thrift stores:



Community Chest Knoxville:


4. Reduce paper use.Paper towels and napkins are used in most households, but these create lots of waste. There are more sustainable options such as switching to cloth towels for cleaning up around the house! 


Share with how you are making your spring more sustainable, please comment below! Keep Knoxville Beautiful would love to hear from you! 

Get Involved This Spring!


At Keep Knoxville Beautiful, we organize and coordinate events with local groups to promote environmental beautification and community togetherness. This spring, we have several events organized around Knoxville to clean up our communities! If you are interested in volunteering in events around your area, please sign up to participate! We are always looking for helping hands to keep Knoxville beautiful! Check out our Upcoming Event page for details on signing up.

South Knoxville Cleanup

Saturday, March 17, 2018

9:00 AM  12:00 PM

Sam Duff Park

The community-wide South Knoxville Cleanup will be held on Saturday, March 17th from 9 am–12 pm, followed by lunch. The event will kick off at Sam Duff Memorial Park. Participating community leaders will meet at the kickoff event, pick up supplies, and then disperse into their own neighborhoods to pick up litter. Individuals who are not with groups can join the effort to clean the streets surrounding Duff Field.

Beaumont Ave. Cleanup

Saturday, March 24, 2018

10:00 AM  12:00 PM

Beaumont Magnet Academy 

This is a public event. Join Elkmont Exchange and members of the Beaumont community as we pick up litter along Beaumont Ave. and around Beaumont Magnet Academy. Volunteers will receive a free beer voucher from Elkmont Exhange and are invited to eat lunch afterwards in their barrel room.


29th Annual River Rescue

Saturday, April 7, 2018
10:00 AM  2:00 PM

Ijams Nature Center

Join us for Ijams Nature Center's 29th Annual River Rescue. Last year, almost 700 volunteers cleaned various sites along the Tennessee River and associated waterways and removed 11.5 tons of garbage! This year, Keep Knoxville Beautiful will be hosting 2 sites.


Turkey Creek Greenway Tree Planting

Saturday, April 14, 2018
9:00 AM  12:00 PM

Iron Tribe Fitness

KKB will be planting 30 trees along the Turkey Creek Greenway!

2018 Orchids Awards

2018 Orchids Awards

Since 1979, Keep Knoxville Beautiful has hosted the Orchids Beautification Awards to recognize the architects, contractors, organizations, businesses, and artist that have strived to improve the beauty of Knox County.  These awards are so meaningful because the nominated landscapes and properties contribute to sustaining Knoxville's long-lasting beauty and splendor. These spaces stand out in rebuilding and rejuvenating communities affected by blight and degradation, positively inspiring others to maintain these standards within their lives and communities.