The City of Chattanooga and CO.LAB Seek New Ways to Combat Waste

Chloé Morrison

The Scenic City is known for its outstanding outdoor scene, and now residents have a chance to contribute to Chattanooga’s reputation for environmental sustainability.  

“Chattanooga is a city with a strong identity rooted in our great outdoors and our commitment to sustainability,” Mayor Tim Kelly said. “I count myself as fortunate to be mayor of a city where people care deeply about limiting waste and litter.”  


The City of Chattanooga and, nonprofit The Company Lab, are partnering to solicit creative ways to improve waste management structures and infrastructure systems.  


This includes potential changes to technology, infrastructure and citizen education.  

“Recycling and waste management processes are overdue for innovation,” CO.LAB Director of Programs Christine DiPietro said. “This is a great opportunity to test ideas and see what works in our city.” 

Members of the public are invited to submit ideas covering one or more of the five areas listed below: 

  • Circular Economy (reducing waste in landfills)  
  • Cost Efficiency in Recycling Processes (improving recycling processes) 
  • Consumer/Resident Education (education on what to recycle, understanding the recycling process)  
  • Labor Reduction (reducing methane emissions from landfills)
  • Composting (how to compost effectively, reducing methane production in landfills) 

Four submissions will be selected to pilot in partnership with CO.LAB and the City of Chattanooga, a small stipend will be awarded to those selected.


Chosen solutions will be presented during Startup Week CHA 2021 and evaluated based on the following criteria: 

  • Understanding of problem/solutions 
  • Quality of recommendation 
  • Implementation 
  • Feasibility (including an estimated budget) 


The selected solution(s) will be selected for pilot programs to assess their feasibility in Chattanooga. 


As part of the pilot process, these four ideas will be presented as a pitch event on Tues., Oct. 19, at noon.  

Applications are due Oct. 3, and selected applicants will be notified Oct. 10. 

Anyone with an idea can email a proposal to [email protected]


Proposal guidelines are online here

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