Local Recycling Rules in Knoxville, TN

by | Aug 24, 2021 | Garbage Collection, Waste Management | 0 comments

State recycling rules tend to vary quite a bit across the US. Items that are often considered recyclable in one state may not be recyclable in another, which is ironic but a reality that we should be aware of depending on where we live. Usually, what can be recycled hinges on the facilities available in the city and state and how they operate. In Knoxville, Tennessee, recycling rules need to be followed strictly; the good news is that the rules are pretty well outlined and hard not to understand.

The city is home to 5 drop-off recycling centers that operate from 8 am to 8 pm. People can choose to drop off everything that’s deemed recyclable at the center nearest to them. That said, there is also curbside recycling available for those who want to use it.

What Can You Recycle in Knoxville?

Unlike other major cities, there is quite a bit that you can recycle in Knoxville. Below is a shortlist of what you can choose to drop off at the nearest recycling center or curbside recycling.


These include plastic cups, bottles, lids, jugs, and various other containers.


Metal cans like steel cans, aluminum cans, tin cans etc.

Paper and Cardboard

Magazines, newspapers, envelopes, office paper, shredded paper, cereal boxes etc.


These include clear glass, brown glass, green glass

Note: In Knoxville, paper coffee cups aren’t recyclable.

What Can’t You Recycle in Knoxville?

Now there are quite a few things that you can’t recycle in Knoxville. It is essential to be aware of these items since they will need to be disposed of at the nearest landfill.

Latex paint








Non-propane cylinders like oxygen tanks




Medical waste


Materials that can’t be identified


Biological waste


Curbside Recycling

Curbside recycling makes it very easy for homeowners to discard material that can be recycled. The items can be placed next to city-issued recycle carts in cardboard boxes or a paper bag, clearly marked ‘recycling.’ The rule mandates that your items should be within 3 feet of the city-issued cart.
The city also requires that you don’t place lose materials in plastic bags. Plastic bags can contaminate the contents inside, so the city is strictly against their use in curb-side recycling.
Items like waxy cardboard or paper, like milk cartons, plastic utensils, straws, cords, batteries, aluminum foil, glass, baking pans, Styrofoam, food waste don’t qualify for curbside recycling.


The City of Knoxville provides dumpsters to residents two times a year. The dumpsters cost $75. The program is designed by the Public Service Department to make the removal of large, bulky trash easier, especially from private property.
Requests are also scheduled in the order that they are received. In other words, it is a first-come, first-serve basis. Usually, the wait time is around 48 hours, mainly because of the high demand for these dumpsters. That’s why you will want to plan ahead of requesting a dumpster from the city.