ConServe Certification Application
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The ConServe program by the City of Knoxville aims to celebrate restaurants that are committed to low-waste dining while also supporting those interested in making changes to reduce their waste. Restaurant sustainability initiatives are attractive to customers, can reduce operational costs, and decrease environmental impact. We are in the process of certifying restaurants now, so don’t miss this opportunity to stand out as a valued establishment in Knoxville!
We will review your application and schedule an on-site verification visit.
Please be prepared to show evidence or documentation for all practices.
For questions or to receive a copy of this application, contact the ConServe Coordinator.
Email: WRamericorps@knoxvilletn.gov OR Phone: (865) 215-2872


ConServe Requirements
There are two certification categories, PLATINUM and RAINBOW.

PLATINUM must meet:
All 7 mandatory requirements and 20 points worth of flexible requirements must be fulfilled to qualify for ConServe PLATINUM. Restaurants eligible for ConServe PLATINUM receive an official City of Knoxville certificate and window cling to highlight your restaurant as eco-friendly, in addition to having your restaurant in the spotlight on the City of Knoxville, ConServe website.

RAINBOW must meet:
All 7 mandatory requirements and 14 points worth of flexible requirements must be fulfilled to qualify for ConServe RAINBOW. Restaurants eligible for ConServe RAINBOW receive an official City of Knoxville certificate and window cling as well as having your restaurant’s name featured on the City of Knoxville, ConServe website.
PART I - Business Information
Date of Application *
Business Name *
Business Address *
Business Contact, Person's Name and Title *
Contact Phone Number *
Contact Email Address *
How many employees does your business employ?
PART II - Mandatory Requirements
PLATINUM and RAINBOW must meet all 7 mandatory requirements.
Are you located within the limits of the City of Knoxville? *
Eliminated all use of expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) from food/ beverage to-go ware, packaging materials, company events and break-rooms. *
Use only recyclable or compostable to-go containers. *
If providing plastic straws, they are only distributed upon request. *
All employees, including new hires, will be informed about the ConServe Knoxville program protocols and best practices upon certification. *
Reusable dishware, utensils, and cups are provided for customers and employees when dining in. *
Accept and sign a certificate listing your restaurant's commitments to the ConServe program. This customized document will be provided to you upon certification. *
PART III - Flexible Requirements
PLATINUM must have at least 20 points worth of flexible requirements to qualify.

RAINBOW must have at least 14 points worth of flexible requirements to qualify.
Section 1: Reducing Single-Use Plastics and Containers
Eliminated use of any wrapped, plastic utensils. (3 points)
Eliminated all plastic bags for to-go and carry out purposes. (3 points)
Offer incentives to customers who bring their own reusable coffee mugs, to-go dishes, and/or bags. (3 points)
For establishments with both to-go and dine-in food service, always ask if meal is “for here or to-go” before offering disposable ware. (2 points)
Always ask before providing to-go bags, straws, receipts, utensils, napkins, and condiment cups or packets. (2 points)
Do not offer straws or only offer those that are washable or compostable. (2 points)
If applicable, offer low-waste catering practices (minimal packaging, reusable serving ware, buffet-style serving, etc.) (2 points)
Eliminate single-use bottles of water for employees and customers. (2 points)
Actively encourage use of appropriately sized take-out containers. (1 point)
Section 2: Reducing Food Waste
Donate excess food to shelters, food banks, or other organizations that accept food waste. (3 points)
Offer flexible portions (i.e. smaller portions, half-sizes). (2 points)
Ask customers before bringing complementary appetizers (i.e. bread, chips). (2 points)
Using health department-compliant refillable/reusable condiment containers in lieu of individual condiment packets (e.g., salt, sugar, ketchup). (2 points)
Sustainability practices are communicated to customers through menus, displays, website, etc. (1 point)
Become a part of the Slow Food Movement. (Find out more here https://www.slowfood.com/act/) (1 point)
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Join the Get Food Smart TN pledge. (Find out more here http://www.getfoodsmarttn.com/) (1 point)
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Section 3: Diverting Landfill Waste
Select products shipped with less packaging or in returnable, reusable or recyclable containers. If yes, please provide proof during the certification walk-through. (3 points)
Provide receptacles for back of house recyclables for wait and kitchen staff use. (3 points)
Electronic alternatives to paper are used whenever possible (invoicing, payroll, orientation materials, emailing receipts, menu items, etc.). (2 points)
Specials are shared verbally, via QR code, or on a chalk/white board--not printed. (2 points)
Provide receptacles for front of house recycling, including sorting containers and customer-friendly signage for acceptable items. (2 points)
Use paper bags that have a post-consumer/recycled content of at least 30%. (2 points)
If using printed menus, they have a post-consumer/recycled content of at least 30%. (1 point)
Use office/copy paper that has a post-consumer/recycled content of at least 30%. (1 point)
Use paper hand towels that have a post-consumer/recycled content of at least 30% or are using air dryers with appropriate filters in restrooms. (1 point)
Use remanufactured copier toner cartridges. (1 point)
Please list any additional sustainability initiatives implemented at your restaurant, to be considered for additional points.
Please list any challenges, concerns, or suggestions you have about the program or becoming certified.
Spread the word! Any other restaurants we should contact about being Conserve Knoxville certified?
A copy of your responses will be emailed to the address you provided.
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