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Earth Day: Planet vs. Plastics

Plastics are taking a toll on our planet. Across the globe plastic pollution is a growing threat to the environment, biodiversity, and human health.

Here in the Valley region millions of plastic items annually make their way into lakes, rivers and other water sources, blemishing landscapes and harming plants and wildlife.

At TVA we’re committed to protecting these valuable water sources through various efforts like water monitoring, bank stabilization and, of course, ongoing cleanups. 

 

Discover the Dangers of Plastic Consumption and How You Can Help

Two women carrying a trash bag near Norris

How can you protect the planet?

  • Carry a reusable bag while shopping.
  • Ditch single-use plastics like water bottles and carry-out utensils.
  • Recycle whenever possible.
  • Minimize your impact on the land and Leave No Trace when you camp.
  • Volunteer to protect our natural resources or archaeological sites.

Two children at Mizzell Bluff Trail

How do plastics harm?

  • They break down into microplastics and release toxic chemicals into water, soil, and food sources.
  • Some of these chemicals have been linked to serious health issues like insulin resistance and cancer.
  • They damage ecosystems and diminish biodiversity.

 A girl picking up plastic bottles and cleaning the environment

How much plastic do we consume?

  • 500 billion plastic bags produced worldwide in 2023.
  • 100 billion plastic beverage containers were sold in the U.S. last year.
  • 380 million tons of plastic are produced yearly.

Protect the Planet

Volunteer at a TVA or partner cleanup, or attend an event to learn about our natural resources and protect our planet.

South Region

Park Clean up and Nature Activities at Lake Guntersville State Park

April 20 at 12 p.m. CT

Guntersville State Park, 24 State Campground Rd. Litter Clean Up held at Campground Campstore, Native Seed Activities held at Nature Hut

Contact: Indya Guthrie at indya.guthrie@dcnr.alabama.gov

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful 2024 Earth Day and Nature Walk With TVA at Marbut Bend Nature Trail

April 20

Athens State events are from 10 a.m.–3 p.m. CT

Marbut Bend Nature Walk will be 7:30–9:30 a.m. CT

Athens State University for celebration and nature walk at Marbut Bend Trail, 26790-, 27208 Buck Island Rd, Elkmont, AL 35620 (Limestone County, AL)

Contact: Damien Simbeck at djsimbeck@tva.gov

Marshall Space Flight Center Earth Day Celebration

April 25 from 10 a.m.–2 p.m. CT

Food Truck Corral at the corner of Rideout Road and Martin Road, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL (Building 4316 is reserved in case of inclement weather (For both NASA and Army).

Contact: Jori Chatman at jechatman@tva.gov

East Region

TVA and Partners Earth Day Cleanup

April 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET

TVA property located on Mehaffey Rd close to Bull Run Fossil Plant

Latitude/longitude: 36.01189-84.12499

Spend your Friday lunch break supporting Planet Earth. Join TVA and Keep Knoxville Beautiful for an Earth Day clean-up on Friday, April 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET on TVA property close to Bull Run Steam Plant (Mehaffey Rd). TVA, our partners, and the public will work together to pick up litter and keep our public lands clean for everyone’s enjoyment. Gloves and garbage bags will be provided. Volunteers are encouraged to wear comfortable clothing and sturdy footwear; bring water, sunscreen, and bug/tick spray, and eat lunch before arriving.

Contact: Angela Sutton ampolly@tva.gov

South Knoxville Cleanup With Keep Knoxville Beautiful 

April 20 from 9 a.m.–12 p.m. ET

Mary Vestal Park, located at 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920

The event base will be at Mary Vestal Park, located at 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville, TN 37920. 

We will be removing litter from South Knoxville roads, creeks, and parks. Participants of any age are welcome! We look forward to seeing those who live, work, or play in South Knoxville - as well as anyone who wants to lend a helping hand.

There are three volunteer options: two to sign up as an individual and one to sign up as a group. Please only fill out the section that applies to you.

  • Groups: Participating groups will send a leader to Mary Vestal Park to pick up supplies and then meet their group at their designated or assigned neighborhood to pick up litter. Please only sign up as a group if you wish to lead your group in your own cleanup area. 
  • Individuals
  • Individuals at Mary Vestal Park
  • Goose Creek Cleanup at Mary Vestal Park

Keep Knoxville Beautiful will provide the following equipment:

  • Litter Pickers
  • Gloves
  • Safety Vests
  • Trash Bags

We highly recommend wearing long pants, and all volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes for the event. Please bring your own sunscreen, bug protection, and water. 

Sign-ups close on Sunday, April 14, at 11:59 p.m. The event rain date is Sunday, April, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Contact: KKB at amanda@keepknoxvillebeautiful.org or (865) 521-6957 with any questions you may have.

Sign up here

Invasive Plant Removal and Tree Giveaway With Trees Knoxville

April 20 from 10 a.m.–12 p.m. ET

Caswell Park in Knoxville (620 Winona Street)

Celebrate Earth Day with us! TVA and Tress Knoxville will be giving away native tree seedlings in Caswell Park on April 20—you can choose from adorable white oak, dogwood, redbud, and pawpaw babies. You must reserve your seedlings in advance here.

We’re also planning to tackle nasty invasives at the First Creek riparian area while we’re at it. Come dressed to kill (privet) in sturdy shoes and clothes that prefer to be dirty. If you’re planning to help, please do RSVP so we’re all set with equipment and water.

Refreshments will be served and fun will be had! Don’t miss your chance to hang with like-minded tree peeps and do right by your planet.

We highly recommend wearing long pants, and all volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes for the event. Please bring your own sunscreen, bug protection, and water.

Contact: Shannon O’Quinn at  tsoquinn@tva.gov

Earth Day Recycling

April 20  from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. ET

First Baptist Church Maryville, 202 W Lamar Alexander Pkwy

Keep Blount Beautiful will host its Annual Earth Day Recycling collection on Saturday, April 20 at First Baptist Church Maryville, 202 W Lamar Alexander Pkwy, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. This event is a free, drive-through collection of various items for proper recycling or reuse. The collection items are listed below.

Household recycling, household hazardous waste, paint, or lightbulbs will not be accepted at this event. For disposal information, visit the Resources tab at KeepBlountBeautiful.org

Contact: Director@Keepblountbeautiful.org

Boone Lake Association Lake Cleanup

April 20 from 9 a.m.–3 p.m. ET

Meet at Winged Deer Park for station assignments. 4137 Bristol Hwy, Johnson City, TN 37601

This year will mark the 25th or silver anniversary of the event. Volunteers will be provided with gloves and trash bags. Afterward, volunteers are invited to a picnic at Winged Deer Park at 4 pm. Free t-shirts and prize drawings will be at the event.

Contact: Boonelakeassociation@gmail.com

Lake Nottely Cleanup

April 27 at 9 a.m. ET

1040 Poteete Creek Road; Blairsville, GA

Join Lake Nottely Improvement Association for their spring cleanup.

Contact: Brian Preston Email:  LNIA.president@gmail.com or (770) 316-5966

North Region

Rutherford County’s 23rd Annual Earth Day Celebration

April 20 from 10 am -2 pm CT

Historic downtown Murfreesboro, TN

Join Middle Tennessee Electric for a day of celebration! There will be vendors, educational booths, school contests, and a Kid Zone. 

“Thinking green” involves a critical consideration of our planet's well-being, particularly in the face of the escalating environmental threat of plastics. As we navigate the 21st century, our reliance on plastics has surged, leading to severe environmental consequences. Single-use plastics contribute to pollution, clog waterways, harm wildlife, and remain in landfills for centuries. To “think green,” we should recognize the urgency of adopting sustainable alternatives, reducing plastic consumption, and embracing eco-friendly practices. It's a call to action to prioritize the health of our planet over convenience, fostering a collective responsibility to preserve the delicate balance of nature. By making conscious choices, supporting initiatives for plastic reduction, and promoting a circular economy, we can pave the way for a greener, more sustainable future. 

For more information, you can follow our Facebook page, which will provide the latest information leading up to Earth Day.

Contact: Amy Byers at amybyers@mte.com