Spotlight on Putnam County Orgs Working to Clean Up Our Community

Last Updated by Kate Spears on

Research and experience have shown that litter is the result of individual behavior. It is an individual choice to litter or to be careless in the handling of waste. Once litter is on the ground, it attracts more litter, begetting a myriad of consequences for both us and for the environment.  A clean community, by contrast, actually discourages littering and improves the community appearance and quality of life.

We all have a role to play in the prevention of litter. It takes just one person, one school, one business, one organization to positively impact the behavior of others in their community.

On this week’s WCTE Get Ready To Learn radio show, join Cindy Putman and her special guests Shannon Reese, Executive Coordinator at Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission, Reese’ son Yoel who is an elementary school student, and Lisa Luck of the Putnam County Solid Waste and Recycling. Listen to find out all the ways citizens of our community can work to keep it beautiful.

Reese and Luck recently partnered with the Putnam County School System LEAPs camp to teach the campers about recycling, litter, composting, neighbor beautification, and simple ways to make small positive changes.

Some of the things we discussed included:

  • Use stainless containers for water, stop using plastic bottles

  • Make and take a cloth shopping bag to the grocery

  • Buy clothes at thrift stores

  • Pass clothes down to others

  • Pass books, toys, sports equipment, and craft items along to others

  • Use dishes and silverware not plastic or styrofoam materials

  • Recycle your paper, glass, and plastic

  • Stop using plastic straws

The  Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission was founded in 1986. Currently it exists as a nonprofit organization with a 12-member, volunteer, working Board of Directors, and one part-time Executive Coordinator. The organization’s mission is to provide education on best practices of waste management including litter abatement, recycling, reducing, reusing, repairing and composting.  

One way that the Clean Commission works to educate and inform citizens is by hosting the Household Hazardous Waste Day each year to keep toxic waste out of the landfill. They encourage recycling and provide education to residents on how and what to recycle in Putnam County.  

Did you know that schools, government offices and businesses are encouraged to recycle? Each year, the Clean Commission partners with Twin Lakes to help residents recycle telephone books.

The Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission has many partners, including Keep America Beautiful and the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, as well as CityScape, the City of Cookeville, Putnam County Solid Waste Department, Tennessee Tech University, and private industries. These partnerships allow the organization to provide “Litter Free” events and recycling opportunities.  

The Clean Commission also participates in events such as CityScape Fall FunFest, Dogapalooza, Habitat for Humanity's "Cooking on the Square," Upper Cumberland Home & Garden Show, and various Earth Day celebrations. They offer leadership in educating and involving the community in the areas of litter control, recycling, proper solid waste management, community beautification, and environmental improvement.

The Clean Commission operates the Adopt-A-Road program as well as provides litter pick up supplies to individuals and groups. Many of our roads have been recently cleaned by churches and clubs who do a one-time day-long clean up each year.

Thanks to the Community Foundation grant received, Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission was able to clean up several illegal tire dumps throughout Putnam County.

Want to learn more? They have an Education Center which serves as a community resource for environmental related topics. Your group may contact the Clean Commission to host classes on subjects that include: recycling, waste management, conservation of natural resources, composting, property beautification, recycling, living green, etc.

A variety of groups attend and education is provided free of charge. A recent group from Leadership Putnam included the Clean Commission on one of their stops on an agricultural/educational tour of Putnam County. The Student Government Association at Tennessee Tech University has participated in environmental education awareness classes.

The Clean Commission has a history with Cookeville and Putnam County and says they are proud to be a part of this community. They are always looking for partnerships to promote a more beautiful Putnam County for its residents, businesses and visitors.

To join or to receive more information on programs please contact Shannon Reese-

Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission

305 B Willow Avenue Cookeville, Tennessee 38501

(931) 537-3278 | |

Shannon and Lisa provide educational programs that are free of charge for your club, organization, church or school for any aged group.

Please call and leave a message to schedule a program.  Programs can include the following:

  • Waste Management   

  • Recycling  

  • Litter  

  • Composting

To learn more about Putnam County Solid Waste & Recycling, click here.

1846 S Jefferson Ave Cookeville, TN 38506 | 931-528-3884

Lisa Luck provides education in composting, flood control, solid waste planning, environmental issues, household hazardous waste, batteries, used tires, used oil, recycling and landfills.

For more information please call Lisa Luck at 261-7841 or Shannon Reese at Keep Putnam County Beautiful Clean Commission at 537-3278.

Want more ideas for helping our environment? Check out 10 Tips for Green Parenting.


Tune in each Saturday morning at 9:30 for the WCTE Get Ready To Learn Radio Show, with host Cindy Putman on Zimmer Broadcasting's The HUB 107.7 FM and 1400 AM.

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WCTE’s Educational Team can customize workshops or professional development trainings for your group or organization. For workshop information, or to inquire about scheduling a workshop, call 921-528-2222 x. 227 or email us.

Topics are listed below:

  • Using Media as a learning tool
  • Using PBS kids apps to extend learning
  • How to be your child’s first teacher
  • Sesame Street Workshops
  • How does poverty effect a child’s brain
  • Literacy and Math
  • Brain Development

Workshops can be conducted in English and Spanish.