Knox County Tennessee

Frequently Asked Questions

For more information contact the Knox County Solid Waste Office

Is there a map of all drop-off center locations?


Users should visit the Locations Page to see a map of all Knox County Convenience Centers

Do centers have regular hours of operation?


Centers are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. AND Saturdays 7:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Centers are closed every Wednesday, Sunday, & holidays. Gates close promptly at published closing times. Centers may close early due to inclement weather, power outages, or if containers are full and cannot be emptied. For more information visit the Centers Page for Holiday Hours visit the Holiday Schedule Page.

Are there fees to use the centers?


Centers are funded through Knox County property taxes. There are no additional charges to use the centers. There is a greenwaste box at Halls operated by Goodwill and Goodwill charges a fee ONLY for greenwaste disposal at Halls. For this reason centers are ONLY available to residents of Knox County.

Is recycling collected from users at all the centers?


Most Knox County centers are equipped to accept mixed paper products, cardboard, metal food and beverage containers, plastic food and beverage containers, scrap metal, used oil and auto fluids, old car batteries, and a limited amount of tires (tires answered in another question). For more information visit the Recycling Page.

Are there limits to how much TRASH users can bring to centers?


The department limits users to one pickup truck or trailer load (5'x8' level with the bed of truck) per day. The department understands that bulky items are larger and often awkward so limits may be waived in those instances. Generally speaking users can recycle as much they want but if users have large amounts it may be better to make arrangements to pay a company to haul the waste away and dispose of it at a transfer station or landfill.

Are there limits to how much RECYCLING users can bring to the centers?

Not really:

Generally speaking users can recycle as much as necessary but for large amounts it may be better to make arrangements to come on days that are less busy (for example Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday) or contact the Solid Waste Office to discuss using a commercial recycler. Users are asked not to bring more than 20 gallons of used oil or coolant at one time. When users stockpile their recycling and bring it all at once in large loads bigger than a pickup truck it can cause the boxes to fill up during operating hours and potentially inconvenience other center users there to recycle if they are turned away.

Can users take items out of the trash, recycling, or retrieve something dropped off at centers?


Whether something is accidentally thrown away or a whether a user sees something in the trash or recycling that would be useful, scavenging at County Convenience Centers is against Tennessee State Law. Once an item is in the custody of the centers it becomes Knox County property and must be treated accordingly. Scavenging also applies to coupons placed in the mixed paper bin. Center users place recyclables into bins trusting the department to make all efforts to recycle the material. Allowing anything to be removed without ensuring beneficial end use (recycling/re-use) would violate this trust. In rare instances individuals have noticed stolen items at the centers. If there is stolen property at a center the owner of the property needs to file a police report and notify the Solid Waste Office. The Solid Waste office will remove the item and investigate the incident. After presented with a police report or if ownership can be proven the County may return the item to the rightful owner. Contact the Solid Waste Office for more information.

Can users take scrap metal from the center?


The same laws that prohibit scavenging of other materials at County Convenience Centers apply to scrap metal. Scrap metal is a revenue stream for the county and revenue generate from the sale of the metal helps to offset the cost to operate the centers thereby keeping taxes low. Center users should not hesitate to Contact the Solid Waste Office if they observe any abuse of this policy. The department needs as much information as possible such as time, date, vehicle(s) in question, license plate numbers, and the nature of the suspicious activity being reported

Can users take large and bulky items to the centers?

Yes, with restrictions:

Knox County Centers will accept large items such as hot water tanks, furniture, small demolition debris from home improvements, etc. There are limits in quantity (answered in another question). There are some items not accepted like block, brick, sand, gravel, and shingles (also answered in another question). Users should check with the operator at the center for instructions on where to put the different types of waste. Users should see the Do-It-Yourself Demolition Page for more information.

Do centers accept or recycle electronics?

Yes, with some restrictions:

Four County Convenience Centers offer electronics recycling on site through the Goodwill Attended Donation Centers. Electronic recycling may be handed to the Goodwill attendants at the Dutchtown, Halls, John Sevier, and Karns Convenience Centers. Goodwill accepts most computers and advanced electronics (like old gaming systems) for recycling. NOTE: Some simple electronics like microwaves, food blenders and vacuum cleaners may be directed into trash compactors or scrap metal piles depending on the material it is made of. See the center operator and Goodwill attendants on duty for details. Televisions are accepted as trash in the blue compactors as long as users are able to place it into the compactor box. For more information about what electronics are accepted at our centers visit the Electronic Waste Disposal Page.

NOT ACCEPTED: ELECTRONICS containing hazardous chemicals such as lab equipment, dehumidifiers, refrigerators or A/C units. Most of these items are accepted at the HHW Facility or as trash at the Transfer Station. Visit the HHW website or call 215-6710 for more information.

Do centers accept refrigerators, freezers, or window-unit air conditioners?


County centers are not allowed to accept these items because they once contained refrigerant and their disposal/recycling is highly regulated. A certified technician has to examine and certify the device did not leak refrigerant during the disposal process. Regardless of whether the unit is working or non-working these items MUST be taken to the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) facility.

Do centers accept asphalt or roofing shingles?


Roofing shingles are very heavy and a large convenience center container with too many shingles (and other heavy material like dirt, gravel, brick, etc.) could cause Knox County trucks to be overloaded and illegal and very unsafe to drive. In addition, roofing nails can fall onto the center grounds and puncture tires. For shingle disposal options see the Commercial Solid Waste Page for commercial waste and hauling companies. In some instances people may need to dispose of small pet houses with incidental shingles on the roof. Those shingles (if they fit in only one trash bag) may be bagged and placed in the blue trash compactor at centers. Center operators inspect loads to make sure that shingles are not illegally dumped.

Do the centers accept block, brick, gravel, or sand?


Block, brick, gravel, and sand are all very heavy and their disposal is very costly, they can also damage Knox County equipment when being handled. For the reasons listed above, they are considered commercial waste. See the Commercial Solid Waste Page for more details.

Do centers accept tires?

Yes, but with limits:

Users may dispose of 4 regular car or light truck tires per year per household with or without the rim. No large truck tires are accepted. Users with more than 4 tires will need to haul the tires to a tire recycling facility and pay for the recycling fee. More information can be found on the Tire Recycling Page.

Is there a place to take computers, paint, solvents, devices containing mercury, refrigerators or freezers with Freon in them or other hazardous material?


Knox County is fortunate to have a permanent household Hazardous Waste Facility. To learn more visit the Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) page.

Do the centers accept latex or oil based paint?


County centers do not accept liquid paint. For instructions on how to dispose of paint, please click the following link

Do center operators check tags (license plates) to see if users live in Knox County?

Yes, only proof of residency is required:

Some Knox County residents live in Knox County but do not have Knox County license plates. In those instance users should be prepared to show proof of residency to the center operator on duty. Proof of residency can be anything official with the resident’s name and a physical address on it. It could be a copy of a lease, a utility bill, a phone bill, a cable bill. If users do not have any of these they should Contact the Solid Waste Office.

Can users bring trash to centers if they do NOT live in Knox County?


Residents of other counties must consult their own county's solid waste department or pay to dispose of their trash at a local landfill. Using Knox County Convenience Centers illegally is theft of services and violators may be prosecuted for illegal dumping.

Can businesses, organizations, or institutions like churches use the centers?

Not for trash disposal. Yes for many recyclables:

With the exception of collecting recyclables, Tennessee State law prohibits the acceptance of non-residential trash at County Convenience Centers. Organizations and business trying to use the centers for trash disposal are violating the law and will be prosecuted for illegal dumping. Organizations and businesses are legally responsible arranging waste removal. Recyclables (especially paper, metal food and beverage containers, and scrap metal) are welcome at the centers provided the volume of recycling is not so overwhelming as to fill up the recycling collection so that residents are inconvenienced. Businesses that are interested in learning about recycling should Contact the Recycling Coordinator.

Is there a reason that all the compactors lanes are not open at once?


If all center lanes are opened at the same time it is possible that all the containers could fill up at the same time. State rules that regulate the operation of convenience centers prohibit placing garbage on the ground. If all boxes fill at the same time the center would have to be closed. Filling some of the containers completely before allowing other lanes to be opened allows those filled containers to be hauled away to the landfill while the center remains open. The purpose of staggering the filling of boxes is to make sure the center can stay open during posted hours.

Are centers closed on holidays?


Center may close early or close entirely for observed holidays. Users should bear in mind that the Waste and Recycling Centers may follow different hours than other Knox County facilities. More information on the waste and recycling holiday schedule can be found on the Holiday Schedule Page.

Can users get a copy of center policies in writing?


Users can click here to download the Convenience Center Policies in PDF format.

Can county residents pay for curbside trash and recycling pickup?


Knox County does not provide curbside pickup of any waste or recycling. County residents should contact the private waste haulers who provide service to their neighborhoods to ask about the availability of curbside recycling service. Generally, waste companies offer curbside recycling to customers who also curbside trash service. Please consult the internet or yellow pages for waste and recycling for residences. Residents should compare the pricing and services offered by multiple companies. If private companies do not provide the service in an area then home pickup is not available.

Is there a way to report illegal dumping and litter on the road?


Visit the Litter and Illegal Dumping Page or call the Knox County Solid Waste office at 865-215-5865.

Is there a way to adopt a road?


Visit the Litter and Illegal Dumping Page or call the Knox County Solid Waste office at 865-215-5865.

Are property owners responsible for cleaning up illegal dumps on their property?


Private property maintenance is a responsibility of the property owner. Knox County investigates littering and illegal dumping on a regular basis. The County will assist the property owner to investigate and prosecute the offenders but the ultimate cleanup and disposal of dumped material is the responsibility of the property owner. If a property owner discovers their property is being used for dumping they should visit the Litter and Illegal Dumping Page.

Solid Waste Policy and Enforcement Issues

Topics include:
Knox County Solid Waste Policy

For more information contact the Knox County Solid Waste Office