Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful Receives

State Recycling Award for

Cigarette Litter Prevention Project with Dollywood

Bobby Johnson of Dollywood and Kathleen Gibi of Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful pose at the Dollywood ticket office with the awards presented by the Tennessee Recycling Coalition. Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful was named ‘Nonprofit Recycler of the Year’ and Dollywood received a plaque that said ‘Nonprofit Recycler of the Year Partner.’

(TENNESSEE, September 12, 2023)Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful (KTNRB) was just named ‘2023 Nonprofit Recycler of the Year’ by the Tennessee Recycling Coalition for its cigarette litter prevention partnership with Dollywood. Since the project launched at Dollywood in 2021, the program has led to the plastic getting recycled from approximately 350,000 cigarette butts.

Keep America Beautiful® (KAB) first told you about this partnership back in 2022 when Dollywood became the first theme park in the world to recycle the plastic from every cigarette butt collected in guest-facing receptacles on its property.

>>First-of-its-kind: Dollywood becomes first theme park to recycle plastic from every cigarette butt

“We’re so proud of this honor, more than anything because of the commitment from Dollywood and the other supporting partners who worked to ensure that this trailblazing collaboration would protect the Tennessee River watershed from the harmful effects of cigarette litter,” said Kathleen Gibi, KTNRB Executive Director. “Taking the effort to the next step of recycling the plastic from otherwise discarded cigarette waste makes it all the more impactful and is yet the latest example of Dollywood’s reputation of working toward the greater good.”

KTNRB was able to provide Dollywood with 26 art-wrapped cigarette receptacles through a collaboration of grants and sponsorships from Keep America Beautiful®, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), and the American Eagle Foundation.

TerraCycle, an international recycling company, covers the cost of shipping the collected cigarette butts to their facility so that the plastic microfibers in the cigarette filters can be recycled into outdoor plastic furniture. Two park benches donated by TerraCycle and made from recycled cigarette plastic are now installed at Dollywood near the theme park’s bald eagle exhibit.

In addition to working with Dollywood on the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program, KTNRB also has 800 art-wrapped cigarette receptacles installed at marinas, campgrounds, and tourism sites in all seven states of the Tennessee River watershed.

>>LEARN MORE: Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (CLPP)

For more information about joining Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful’s Cigarette Litter Prevention Program or to join litter cleanup efforts on the Tennessee River watershed, please visit

About Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful:

Keep the Tennessee River Beautiful is a 501c3 nonprofit and is the first Keep America Beautiful affiliate in the nation to focus solely on a river. Its mission is to rally communities along the Tennessee River and its tributaries to preserve, improve and protect the river for generations to come. To date, 3,805 volunteers have helped the organization to remove 562,409 lbs. of trash along the 652-mile Tennessee River and its tributaries that reach into seven states.

Contact: Kathleen Gibi, Executive Director | 865.386.3926

About Dollywood Parks & Resorts:

A highly-awarded and widely-recognized leader in the amusement industry, The Dollywood Company consists of the 160-acre Dollywood theme park; the 35-acre Dollywood’s Splash Country; and Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa. Currently under construction, Dollywood’s HeartSong Lodge & Resort is scheduled for completion in 2023. As unique as its namesake and owner Dolly Parton, Dollywood is the 2010 Applause Award winner, the theme park industry’s highest accolade; winner of 45 Golden Ticket Awards; and recipient of 28 Brass Ring Awards for Live Entertainment (more than any other theme park in the world). The park is located near Great Smoky Mountains National Park and was named in 2022 by Tripadvisor as the top theme park in the country. It also has been recognized as a top-three U.S. theme park by USA Today on multiple occasions. Dollywood is open mid-March through early January and offers rides and attractions, shows and crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region. Dollywood’s Splash Country, recognized by the Travel Channel and Tripadvisor as one of the country’s most beautiful water parks, operates from mid-May to Labor Day. Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort and Spa, a favorite of USA Today voters and Tripadvisor reviewers, provides guests with spectacular mountain views and family-friendly amenities next door to Dollywood theme park and Dollywood’s Splash Country. For more information, visit Operating days and hours vary.

About TerraCycle:

TerraCycle is an international leader in innovative sustainability solutions, creating and operating first-of-their-kind platforms in recycling, recycled materials, and reuse. Across 21 countries, TerraCycle is on a mission to rethink waste and develop practical solutions for today’s complex waste challenges. The company engages an expansive multi-stakeholder community across a wide range of accessible programs, from Fortune 500 companies to schools and individuals, and has raised over $44 million for schools and nonprofits since its founding more than 15 years ago. To learn more about TerraCycle and join them on their journey to move the world from a linear economy to a circular one, please visit To learn more about joining the Cigarette Waste Free Recycling Program, interested organizations and individuals are invited to reach out to for more information

About The Tennessee Valley Authority:

The Tennessee Valley Authority is a corporate agency of the United States that provides electricity for business customers and local power companies serving nearly 10 million people in parts of seven southeastern states. TVA receives no taxpayer funding, deriving virtually all of its revenues from sales of electricity. In addition to operating and investing its revenues in its electric system, TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management for the Tennessee River system, and assists local power companies and state and local governments with economic development and job creation.

About Keep America Beautiful®:

Keep America Beautiful®, the nation’s leading community improvement nonprofit organization, inspires and educates people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment. Established in 1953, Keep America Beautiful® strives to End Littering, Improve Recycling, and Beautify America’s Communities. We believe everyone has a right to live in a clean, green, and beautiful community, and shares a responsibility to contribute to that vision. The organization is driven by the work and passion of 700 Keep America Beautiful® affiliates, millions of volunteers, and the collaborative support of corporate partners, social and civic service organizations, academia, municipalities, elected officials, and individuals. Join us on FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedin, and YouTubeDonate and take action at


McCall Vrydaghs

Keep America Beautiful®

Published by McCall Vrydaghs
September 12, 2023

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