Where to go and when for Christmas tree recycling

Local News

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — With the Christmas holiday over and live trees used for decoration soon to be disposed, there are certain places many can bring them within the greater East Tennessee area.

Below is a list of where and when you can drop off your Christmas tree for recycling.

City of Knoxville

The City of Knoxville says the easiest and most ecologically beneficial way for city residents to dispose of a Christmas tree after the holidays is to simply remove lights and decorations, then place it at the street for collection. Public Service Department crews pick up discarded holiday greenery, just like they pick up brush left on the side of the street. 

Christmas trees, like leaves and other brush, are delivered to Living Earth, where they are mulched and composted with other organic material into various yard products that the company markets and sells. Each year, Living Earth provides up to 1,000 cubic yards of hardwood mulch and 200 cubic yards of playground mulch to the City that City horticulture crews use to landscape public beds and parks. 

Note that Public Service Department crews are concentrating on leaf collection this time of year, so brush – including discarded Christmas trees – is not collected on the regular two-week schedule followed during most of the year. 

If you want that tree gone right away, city residents can also take advantage of Knox County’s Tree-Cycling program. There is no fee to those willing to haul their unwanted Christmas trees to any Knox County convenience center throughout January. As with curbside pickup, the trees taken to a Knox County convenience center are likewise mulched and diverted from the landfill. 

Knox County Christmas tree recycling begins Jan. 2

Beginning Saturday, Jan. 2, Knox County residents can bring unwanted, live Christmas trees to participating Knox County Convenience Centers for free disposal at no cost.

Before dropping off, trees must be cleaned of all decorations including, but not limited to ornaments, wire, string and lights before being delivered to a convenience center. No other green waste or tree limbs will be collected. Tree collection will end Jan. 31.

Additionally, fake trees are considered bulky waste and garland and wreaths mounted on wires should be thrown in the trash.

Knox County operates the following convenience centers:

  • Carter (8815 Asheville Highway)
  • Dutchtown (10618 Dutchtown Road)
  • Halls (3608 Neal Drive)
  • John Sevier (1950 W. Gov. John Sevier Highway)
  • Karns (6930 Karns Crossing Lane)
  • Powell (7311 Morton View Lane)
  • Tazewell Pike (7201 Tazewell Pike)

Any non-working tree lights can be recycled with electronics at the Dutchtown, Halls, John Sevier, or Karns Convenience Centers. More information can be found here.

Normal hours of operation for all convenience centers are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Centers are closed on Sundays. All centers will be closed on Friday, Jan. 1, in observance of New Year’s Day, but will be open and following normal business hours on Saturday, Jan. 2.

Please note that the centers may experience significant wait times following a holiday closure. Center users are urged, if possible, to postpone their regular waste trip until Tuesday or Wednesday the following week when centers are less busy.

For more information, call the Solid Waste offices at 865-215-5865.


The City of Sevierville is encouraging Christmas tree recycling this year by offering a drop-off option for residents.

The City is providing a designated area in the Municipal Complex parking lot near the Gary Wade Boulevard/Bruce Street intersection between City Hall and the Police Department.

Residents may stop by and drop off their trees anytime through January 8, 2021.


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