Use New Garbage Carts Starting Jan. 2, 2017

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Use New Garbage Carts Starting Jan. 2, 2017

Posted: 12/28/2016

Starting Monday, Jan. 2, 2017, City residents should begin using the new wheeled 95-gallon garbage carts that were delivered to their homes earlier this month.

Waste Connections crews collect residential trash on all holidays except Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the New Year’s Day holiday won’t change the trash pickup schedule next week.

Throughout December, crews have been delivering 60,000 new garbage carts to all Knoxville households at no additional expense to the homeowners. The last 10,000 carts are being delivered this week. (Public Service Department managers will be working through any problems with deliveries throughout next week. If you haven’t received your cart by next week’s trash pickup, use your existing trash container. If homeowners still haven’t received a new garbage cart by Friday, Jan. 6, please call 311 to make arrangements.)

The new standardized carts are a key component in modernizing and improving the City’s household garbage collection – saving $2 million each year. The carts allow the City’s contractor, Waste Connections, to utilize trucks designed to hoist the receptacles and dump the trash into the back of their garbage trucks, which significantly cuts down on injuries and improves the quality of work for garbage collectors.

On or after Jan. 2, residents should be using the new carts. But otherwise, their trash pickup won’t change: The day of garbage pickup in their neighborhood will stay the same, and residents should continue to take the cart to their usual collection location, with the handle toward the residence.

Because garbage trucks will be hoisting the carts and mechanically dumping the trash, it’s critical that the carts be placed away from vehicles, utility poles or other items that might restrict the garbage truck mechanism from picking up the cart. It’s also important that the carts not block traffic, mail service or sidewalks.

Placing garbage in bags inside the cart will help keep items from escaping during the tipping process. Lids must be closed with no additional bags placed on the lid.

Remember, garbage carts should be set out no earlier than 6 p.m. on the day before or no later than 7 a.m. on the day of collection, and empty carts should be retrieved no later than 9 p.m. on collection day.

Back-door garbage pickup service is offered to those 75 years of age or older or those with a medical need. For a back-door garbage service application, residents should call 311.

A second change that takes effect on Jan. 2 affects the more than 24,000 City households that participate in the City’s curbside recycling program, as well as those who use single-stream carts downtown and in other places. Glass will no longer be accepted in the City of Knoxville curbside single-stream recycling program, because it’s not an effective way to recycle glass. Instead, residents are encouraged to bring glass to any of the City’s five drop-off recycling centers. Plastics, paper, aluminum and other materials will continue to be picked up from curbside recycling carts.

As part of the City’s current single-stream process, glass inevitably gets broken into small pieces during the collection and sorting process. The intermingled mix of many different kinds of glass produces a very low-quality glass commodity, for which there’s no market, and the glass particles also contaminate other recyclables, downgrading their quality and market value.

Taking glass to drop-off recycling centers preserves the value of all recyclable material. Glass sorted by color can be better marketed and eventually melted down and recycled. Continuing to pick up commingled broken glass would mean tons of waste product going to a landfill because vendors would be unable to recycle it. For more details, visit

The number of City curbside recycling households – more than 24,000 in January – will be an all-time high number. The City is adding another 1,600 households next month.

For more details about either the new trash carts or City recycling, call the City’s 311 Call Center or visit

Also, a new blog – CartSmart – has been created on the City’s website. Visit for updates on the collection of garbage and recyclables.