Knox County Tennessee

Knox County Recycling Program

Knox County operates several waste and recycling drop-off locations for residents to dispose of their household waste and recycling. Residents that want a higher level of service such as curbside collection need to pay a commercial waste company to setup curbside trash in order to add on the curbside recycling. Residents living in the City of Knoxville city limits may be eligible for city curbside recycling or may also be closer to a city recycling-only drop-off location.

Why Recycle?

Recycling helps offset waste disposal costs. Knox County spends over $2 million annually to transport waste and bury it in a landfill forever, while sales of recyclable materials can generate over $1 million per year. Recycling helps avoid landfill costs while also generating revenue which helps keep taxes low.

Where to Recycle?

Map of Recycling and Household Waste Drop Off Centers

Recyclables Accepted at Knox County Convenience Centers:

  • Plastic: bottles/jugs labeled #1, #2 (no Styrofoam, foamy plastic, plastic bags, or bagged recyclables).
  • Mixed Paper: newspapers, magazines, books, shredded paper (in paper bags), food/shoe boxes, paper rolls/tubes, paper, envelopes, and clean milk/juice cartons, paper cups, & paper plates.
  • Cardboard: shipping boxes, paper rolls/tubes, cereal boxes, pizza boxes
  • Aluminum Cans/Lids
  • Steel Cans/Lids
  • Scrap Metal: washers, dryers, hot water heaters, grills, other metal items (no refrigerators or refrigerant containing devices)
  • Car/Motorcycle Batteries
  • Propane Cylinders: see attendant for placement
  • Auto Waste: used oil, oil filters, antifreeze
  • Tires
  • Fluorescent Bulbs
  • Cooking Oil
  • Clothing/Textiles: Goodwill drop-off at Dutchtown, Halls, Karns, John Sevier
  • ElectronicsGoodwill drop-off at Dutchtown, Halls, Karns, John Sevier
  • Carpet: accepted for recycling at Halls, Karns, John Sevier, Powell, and Tazewell Pike centers (Carter and Dutchtown take carpet as bulky waste)

Is Everything Recycled?

Items with an end market placed in recycling bins are taken to a recycler, sorted, baled, and sold for their commodity value. Unfortunately, many items people place in recycling containers are not recyclable and/or do not have any end market buyers. Those unwanted materials may be treated as contamination. Knox County’s recycling program has lower contamination rates because participation is voluntary and recycling participants mostly express a desire to “do the right thing”. The county has a long-term contract with WestRock to sort and sell recyclables to manufacturers. Currently, plastics #3-7 have limited market value but can still be placed in plastic collection containers because they may be difficult to discern from other desired plastics and they are easily removed during sorting. Please do not put plastic bags, Styrofoam, foamy plastic, or food waste in plastic recycling bins as they damage sorting equipment and contaminate other recyclables. Plastic recycling should never be bagged.