KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The holidays are a busy season for the garbage business because of the increase in waste generated. To help limit the amount of trash heading to the landfill, here are the ways in which holiday waste including Christmas trees and holiday lights in Knoxville.

Holiday items accepted for recycling

The City of Knoxville has provided a list of items that can be recycled in a curbside cart or at a recycling drop-off center.

  • Wrapping paper
  • Tissue paper
  • Gift bags
  • Cardboard/ shoeboxes
  • Plastic containers: cups, bottles, milk/juice/detergent jugs, & caps (attached)
  • Holiday cards
  • Gift name tags
  • Holiday cookie tins (clean and dry- The city suggusts reusing or donating if still in usable condition.)

In addition, it is not necessary to remove any staples or tape from these items for recycling.

Holiday items NOT accepted for recycling

  • Plastic bags/ any plastic film such as, bubble wrap, plastic air pillows, etc.
  • Holiday ribbons and bows
  • Any Styrofoam packaging (i.e., Styrofoam packaging peanuts, Styrofoam blocks, etc.)
  • Any ceramic or porcelain materials
  • Any glass items that are not glass jars/bottles (glass bottles/jars can be brought to any of the 5 City recycling drop-off centers)
  • Any holiday cards/ gift name tags with glitter, or other non-paper materials on them.

Old or unwanted Christmas lights

Lights can be recycled at the following locations:

  • Any donation store should take working holiday lights– if not in working condition you can still bring them to any Goodwill donation store for recycling
  • Any City of Knoxville recycling drop-off center (Only when given to a Goodwill attendant between 8 am – 8 pm)
  • County convenience centers at Halls, Dutchtown, John Sevier, & Karns (Must be given to an attendant)
  • The City of Knoxville HHW facility located at 1033 Elm St (for City and Knox County residents only)

Christmas Tree Recycling

Knoxville and Knox County residents can take advantage of the County’s Tree-Cycling program. After Jan. 1, 2021, trees can be left at one of the Knox County convenience centers listed below. The trees must be cleaned of all ornaments, lights, wire, string, and other decor before bringing them to be tree-cycled.

  • Carter Convenience Center – 8815 Asheville Highway
  • Dutchtown Convenience Center – 10618 Dutchtown Road
  • Halls Convenience Center – 3608 Neal Drive
  • John Sevier Convenience Center – 1950 West John Sevier Highway
  • Karns Convenience Center – 6930 Karns Crossing Lane
  • Powell Convenience Center – 7311 Morton View Lane
  • Tazewell Pike Convenience Center – 7201 Tazewell Pike

In Knoxville, residents also can place their bare trees at the curb for pick-up during regular leaf collection and monthly brush pick-up. To find out more about recycling in Knoxville visit