Curbside Recycling

Waste and Resources Manager

Patience Melnik
pmelnik@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-4311

400 Main St.
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Makenzie Read 
Waste and Resources Coordinator
mread@knoxvilletn.gov
865-215-2817


NOTICE REGARDING HOLIDAYS: “When in doubt, set it out!” Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only days of the year when curbside trash and recycling are not picked up as scheduled. For the week following those two holidays, collection is delayed by one day and Sanitation Workers work through Saturday to catch up. The following Monday, service resumes as usual.


Cart Smart

SIGN UP FOR CURBSIDE RECYCLING

Households located within the City limits with four or fewer units on a parcel are eligible for the City's free curbside recycling program. Each enrolled household receives one 95-gallon recycling cart that is emptied every other week. Sign up online or call 311 to participate.

RECYCLABLE IN THE CURBSIDE RECYCLING BIN:

PLASTICS: containers #1-7 (#6 Styrofoam not accepted), cups, bottles, milk/juice/detergent jugs, & caps (NO plastic bags)

METALS:
aluminum can, steel cans, & tin cans

MIXED PAPER:
including phone books, catalogs, magazines, white and colored ledger paper, white and colored note pad paper and stationary, copy paper, NRC forms, sticky notes, envelopes with or without plastic windows, fax paper, manila folders, hanging folders (remove metal bands), paperboard such as toilet paper/paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, tissue boxes, shredded paper (only when enclosed in paper bags), and paper bags. Not necessary to remove labels, staples, tape, or the plastic windows from envelopes.

NEWSPAPER: including inserts

CARDBOARD: flattened

NOT RECYCLABLE IN THE CURBSIDE RECYCLING BIN:

Glass. Glass can only be recycled at the five City Recycling Drop-off Centers
Plastic bags and other plastic films. We recommend using reusable bags.
Batteries.
Lead Acid, lithium, and rechargeable (no alkaline) batteries may be brought to the Solid Waste Management Facility for recycling.
Styrofoam
Aluminum foil/foil pans or pie plates
Bags/wrappers with silver inner linings
such as chips, candy, etc.
Waxy coated containers such as milk/juice/ice cream cartons
Aerosol cans/paint cans
Pet food bags
Cords, garden hoses, holiday lights,
and other "tanglers"
Light bulbs

Window glass, broken windshields, drinking glasses
Any type of porcelain or pottery material
such as plates or pots
Plastic containers that hold hazardous waste
such as pesticides/herbicides, motor oil, and antifreeze bottles
Carbon paper
such as receipts
Scrap metal
such as lawn mower blades, brake drums, etc.
Please consider bringing to a local scrap metal recycler
No Medical Waste.
Insulin Sharps or Sharps containers are NOT accepted in the recycling. These items may be disposed of in your household trash in minimal, residential quantities only if placed inside secured and rigid plastic bottles. Commercial entities must contract medical waste disposal with a medical waste company. 

STILL HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT IS RECYCLABLE?

Search for individual items using the "What Goes Where" look-up tool.

CURBSIDE RECYCLING GUIDELINES

  • Do NOT bag your recyclables; PLASTIC BAGS ARE NOT RECYCLABLE and contents may not be recycled. All recyclables should be placed loosely together in the bin.

  • Recyclables should be clean and dry. No food, please.

  • Break down all cardboard boxes and remove any bags, bubble wrap, or styrofoam packing materials; these items are not recyclable.

  • Set your recycling cart within one foot of the curb by 7 a.m. on your service day.

  • Recycling is picked up every-other week. Find your recycling pick up day here. 

  • Unlike overflow trash, which will not be picked up, overflow recycling will be picked up. Any overflow recycling should be placed in paper bags, cardboard boxes, or reusable containers clearly marked "recycling." Please do not place extra recycling in plastic bags; bags ruin recycling. Cardboard boxes that are not broken down will not be picked up.

  • Please do not force large pieces of cardboard down into the cart; they may block the recyclables underneath. Drivers cannot return for recycling that was trapped and could not dump out of the cart.

  • Please do not fill your recycling cart with too many books, magazines, or other heavy items; the recycling truck's automated arm can not lift heavy recycling carts without risking cart damage.

REPORTING MISSED RECYCLING PICK UP

If your brown/tan City of Knoxville recycling cart was not emptied on your regular pickup day, please report by following these guidelines:

  • Wait until the next business day to report. Trucks break down, construction blocks roads, and stops are rerouted. Even if you've noticed a pattern of when the recycling truck comes by, there are no set times for pickup. You can't be sure you were missed until the following day; therefore, please wait to report.

  • Report within two business days of being missed. If Monday is your recycling pickup day, for example, please report on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you miss the reporting window, we still want to know--but the driver can't return for the recycling until the next scheduled pickup day.

  • Report by calling 311 (or 865-215-4311 if the short version does not work) or by using the "Report Missed Pickup" button above. For fastest service, please do not email to report. Consider downloading the "My Knoxville App" to report recycling misses or any other City-related issue.