As stewards of the majestic Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Gatlinburg residents and businesses are committed to a shared responsibility to be environmentally conscious about every aspect of community life in the Smokies.
Self-evaluation checklists help businesses examine their operations, set goals and take specific actions toward environmental, social and economic sustainability.
The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce launched Gatlinburg Goes Green for member businesses in 2008, and enrollment in the program has since grown to more than 100 members. This voluntary educational initiative recognizes businesses that have made a commitment to continual operations improvement in the interest of reducing environmental impact.
For its Gatlinburg Goes Green program and leadership in member sustainability, the Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce was recognized as the 2011 Green Plus™ Chamber of the Year. Gatlinburg Goes Green helps member businesses evaluate their operations, set goals and take specific actions towards environmental, social and economic sustainability. Gatlinburg Goes Green participants are denoted by a recycling symbol, including their participation level:
GREEN: Entry-level members scored favorably on 0-39% of the checklist.
BRONZE: Bronze-level members scored favorably on 40-69% of the checklist.
SILVER: Silver-level members scored favorably on 70-89% of the checklist.
GOLD: Gold-level members scored favorably on 90-100% of the checklist.
PLATINUM: Platinum-level members scored higher than 125% on the checklist.
Gatlinburg Goes Green is the product of a group of concerned local business owners and citizens dedicated to keeping Gatlinburg a great place to live, work and visit. With a backyard like Great Smoky Mountains National Park, an international biosphere that hosts millions of guests every year, limiting the environmental impact is essential. Gatlinburg Goes Green is a vital first step toward making a big, green difference. The Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce and Green Workgroup will continue to educate chamber members on the progressive steps necessary to lessen the environmental impact of every business.
How Does a Business Participate? Any interested Gatlinburg Chamber of Commerce member in good standing may participate by completing a comprehensive checklist and a digital or hardcopy edition of the Program Participation Agreement, a simple signup form requesting contact information and designating the business as a “new signup” member. Checklists provide nine fields from which the business is evaluated for current efforts taken to improve its impact on the environment. Points are awarded accordingly, and businesses are recognized by the Chamber when making a difference.
- Communication and Education
- Waste Reduction, Reuse, and Recycle
- Energy Efficiency, Conservation and Management
- Water Conservation and Wastewater Management
- Air Quality
- Wildlife and Landscape Conservation and Management
- Local Community Benefits
Evaluated checklists attain one of four levels: Entry, Bronze, Silver or Gold. Checklists differ per business according to daily operations in categories including Accommodations, Amusements, Professional Services, Retail and Schools. Businesses are encouraged to submit updated checklists as they make improvements.
The Goal of the Program, in 2009, was to enroll 75% of member businesses in Gatlinburg Goes Green prior to the annual banquet on November 16, 2009. The Chamber was proud to announce that this goal was achieved in honor of the 75th anniversary of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2010, the Chamber surpassed another goal of enrolling 10% of Gatlinburg Goes Green members at the Bronze participation level or higher.
Gatlinburg Goes Green Activities
Earth Day Festival: Held annually during Earth Week, this festival features local music, food, eco-friendly crafts and activities.
Educational Events: Educational meetings, luncheons, ceremonies or seminars are held throughout the year. The Chamber holds regular educational seminars for its membership and will continue to partner with Gatlinburg and the State of Tennessee on various events.
City Initiatives: Gatlinburg’s Recycling Collection Center is located at 1855 Parkway. Collectable materials include cardboard, plastic, motor oil and rechargeable batteries.
Sevier Solid Waste, Inc: All properly disposed-of garbage in Gatlinburg and Sevier County goes to the Sevier plant in Pigeon Forge. At this state-of-the-art facility, at least 60% of waste is either recycled or becomes compost that is free to the community, meaning that as much as 70% of our garbage is not going into the landfill!
If you’re a Chamber member and wish to sign up to make your green commitment, please click on the links below to print out your forms, or contact Sherry Holtzclaw for more information at (865) 436-4178.
Gatlinburg Goes Green Fact Sheet (45 kb PDF)
Accommodations Program Checklist (213 kb PDF)
Attractions Program Checklist (206 kb PDF)
Professional Program Checklist (206 kb PDF)
Restaurants Program Checklist (206 kb PDF)
Retail Program Checklist (209 kb PDF)
Schools Program Checklist (204 kb PDF)