FAQs

Waste and Resources Manager

Patience Melnik
pmelnik@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-4311

400 Main St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Conserve Knoxville - Inspiring Eco-Friendly Dining

For all other questions not listed below, or for more information on certification contact, 
ConServe Knoxville Coordinator
wramericorps@knoxvilletn.gov 
865-215-2872

PUBLIC QUESTIONS

What is ConServe? Why should I support or consider ConServe certification?

ConServe is a certification program that aims to reduce environmental impacts through sustainable initiatives that are good for both businesses and customers; supporting and celebrating restaurants that are committed to providing low-waste dining for the public.

According to the EPA, "food and packaging/containers account for almost 45% of the materials landfilled in the United States" (EPA-909-K-14-002, pg. 1). By participating and supporting in ConServe qualifications, we reduce this waste reaching landfills, save money, and help our communities. Examples of low-waste qualifications may include eliminating Styrofoam use, avoiding single-use plastic utensils and straws, using recyclable or biodegradable products, and reducing or diverting food waste.

Where can I find ConServe certified businesses?

For current certifications check the Certified Restaurants webpage and look for the ConServe logo proudly displayed at restaurants.

Do you accept nominations for restaurants that employ sustainable initiatives?

Absolutely! If your favorite, low-waste minded restaurant isn't already certified, send suggestions to the ConServe Knoxville Coordinator, by email wramericorps@knoxvilletn.gov or by phone at 865-215-2872.


PARTICIPANT QUESTIONS

How often do you certify restaurants?

Certifications are completed on a rolling basis and will be granted for one year. After the first year another walk-through will be scheduled to ensure adherence to the program. If maintained, the certification will be granted for a three-year term.
 
Will the city continue this program without AmeriCorps’ member support?

The City of Knoxville’s Waste and Resources Management office fully supports this AmeriCorps led initiative. With no plans to discontinue the AmeriCorps partnership, if such a thing were to happen, the department anticipates ConServe will continue as is.

How does the city plan to continue this program through changing
administrations?

With well-received goals to combat climate change in the City of Knoxville, we believe the city will stay the course with this like-minded program regardless of changing administrations. Additionally, the Waste and Resources Management office, as stated above continually supports low-waste efforts.

What should I do if my business practices or polices change?

If your business practices and policies change please reach out to the ConServe Knoxville Coordinator, by email wramericorps@knoxvilletn.gov or by phone at 865-215-2872.

What is the distinction between gold and silver certification?

Gold certification meets all of the nine, mandatory requirements as well as six or more of the flexible requirements. Silver certification qualifies with seven of the mandatory requirements and at least five flexible requirements.

How is the city actively promoting the ConServe program and my business?

Displayed certifications and window clings are active promotions for your patrons. Your business will be listed on the City of Knoxville’s ConServe Restaurants webpage. 

What are the benefits of being ConServe certified?

ConServe certification attracts dedicated customers and provides low-waste options to a growing number of patrons conscious of food security and environmental solutions. Additionally, it allows you to promote your restaurant and carbon-reduction commitment through the City of Knoxville and potentially community partners.

Where do I find eco-friendly products?

ConServe Resources has a list of places to find eco-friendly products. Additionally, you can find a sample environmental policy statement, links for low-waste initiatives, and more about becoming ConServe certified.