The Scenic City Announces Litter Efforts


Chattanoogans, be prepared to see efforts to keep our streets and neighborhoods less cluttered with litter in response to public complaints heard for several months.

“Tennessee Trash” was a 1976 public service campaign launched to shame those who carelessly littered. The anti-littering campaign featured a driving beat and lyrics that left no question as to the public persona of litterers. This PSA was referenced twice in the Chattanooga City Council Agenda Session by the Parks and Public Works Committee Chairman, Councilman Isaiah Hester as something that may again be needed.

Chattanooga is still referenced as “The Scenic City.” Yet many of our roadsides traveled by citizens and visitors alike are more similar to the images seen in the Tennessee Trash video referenced by District 5’s Councilman Hester. During the report regarding the City Council’s Parks and Public Works Committee, Councilwoman Carol Berz was first to speak to the “tremendous amount of litter around” while pinpointing locations where panhandlers stand for visibility being among the worst.

Spokesmen for the Public Works Department noted that the 311 system was still best to report such isolated incidences but cautioned that many roads in question were owned and maintained as state roads by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. The Council learned an operational agreement with TDOT was not renewed due to insufficient reimbursement for the services rendered for state roads like East Brainerd Road, Lee Highway, Hixson Pike, and Highway 58.

Councilwoman Jenny Hill, representing District 2, shared an anecdotal incident of witnessing garbage thrown from a car stopped at a street intersection in North Chattanooga. Her thoughts were, “Who raised you?” Well, the Tennessee Trash ad may, indeed, be in order, as Councilman Hester observed.

The PSA opened with “He’s a little bit of you, he’s a little bit of me” bringing the issue of littering to the level of who creates the problem – citizens who litter rather than properly dispose of waste. The toe-tapping ditty declared, “Lord, there ain’t no lower class than Tennessee Trash” followed by the chorus, “Tennessee Trash! Messin’ up the highways! Tennessee Trash! Junkin’ up the byways!” as a disheveled man drives an open-air rolling wreck with garbage of all sorts is tossed, leaving a wake of rubbish.

The response of the Public Works Department is to revive a program from twenty years back which resumed January 30 that sets a schedule for pickups rotating throughout the city limits in addition to the 311 system.

Mr. Rick Colston provided an update before the Council outlining the resurrected program that divides the geography of Chattanooga into four areas with each area assigned specific dates for the collection of bulk items, leaves, brush, as well as roadside litter pickup.

Find your area and the scheduled dates for pick up by clicking and navigating the interactive map provided and expect to see signs in your neighborhood the week prior to your pickup dates.

Chattanooga should always be the Scenic City. It will be up to us to keep it that way. (R. Smith/2023)

Brush, Leaf, and Bulk Trash (