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Makenzie Read 
Waste and Resources Coordinator

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 SmartCurrently, 30,000 households are signed up for the city's curbside recycling program, which began October 1, 2011.

To Request a Recycling Cart, call 311 or Sign Up Online Here.

Reporting Missed Recycling Pickup:
*If your brown City of Knoxville recycling cart was not emptied on your regular pickup day, please call 311 on the following business day. Calls made on the day of service cannot be honored; please call within the next two business days. Drivers cannot be sent back for misses reported more than two business days after your service day. 

The Curbside Recycling Program
  • No sorting - all recyclables combined in the cart together  
  • Recycling cart is provided by the City at no additional cost
  • Pick-up at the curb - simply roll the cart to within 1 foot of the curb every other week
  • Good for our East Tennessee environment by reducing valuable materials going into the zlandfill!

Recyclable items that can be included in the cart:

  • Plastics: plastic bottles and lids, plastic cups, plastic jugs, milk jugs, detergent containers,
    all plastic containers #1-7 (#6 Styrofoam is not accepted)
  • Metals: aluminum cans, steel cans, tin cans
  • Paper/Cardboard: newspaper, magazines, junk mail, sticky notes, envelopes (not necessary to remove plastic windows), notebooks, office paper with or without staples and tape, cereal boxes, cardboard, shredded paper (placed in a paper bag to prevent scattered pieces)
  • Do not include:
    • Glass (must be taken to a drop-off center to be recycled)
    • Plastic bags/plastic film (all recyclables must be loose in cart- not bagged)
    • Other: food waste, styrofoam, chip bags/candy wrappers (nothing with a silver inner lining), waxy-coated materials (i.e., milk/juice cartons, ice cream cartons, etc.), plastic utensils, straws, aluminum foil and baking pans, batteries, ceramics, dishes, electronics, hazardous waste, plastic toys, cords/water hoses, light bulbs/holiday lights, medical waste, mirrors, trash, window glass, or yard waste.


Unlike overflow trash, which will not be picked up, Waste Connections will pick up overflow recycling that will not fit in your City of Knoxville recycling cart. Any overflow recycling should be placed in paper bags, a cardboard box, or a reusable container clearly marked "recycling."

Overflow recycling placed in plastic bags will NOT be picked up because plastic bags are not recyclable. Any cardboard boxes that are outside of the cart must be broken down and placed neatly beside the recycling cart. Only the accepted items listed above will be collected. 

Ensure that all recyclables are placed loosely into the cart so that it can be easily dumped by the automatic arm of the recycling truck. DO NOT BAG your recyclables; plastic bags are not recyclable. Do not force items such as cardboard down into the cart in a way that the items cannot flow out freely. It is your responsibility to ensure that the recyclables flow out completely because Waste Connections will not return for items stuck in the cart. 

Steps on how to recycle with the cart:

STEP 1: Rinse all recyclable containers
STEP 2: Flatten all recyclable boxes
STEP 3: Place recyclables into cart
STEP 4: Take cart to within 3 feet of curb on collection day

Who can participate?
  • Households in the City limits of Knoxville that receive weekly garbage collection are eligible for the program. Apartments of more than four units are not eligible for this program but may continue to use the drop-off centers for their recycling needs.
  • Residents in the Central Business Improvement District (CBID) will have single stream location options and do not need to sign up for the program. Details will be communicated by the City and the CBID.
  • The City maintains Drop-Off Center Recycling locations to serve apartment-dwellers and small businesses.

If you still have questions about the program, please call 311 (or 865-215-4311).