Curbside Recycling Program Marks Successful First Year

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Curbside Recycling Program Marks Successful First Year

Posted: 10/30/2012
Knoxville's Curbside Recycling Program is one year old this month, and has collected more than 5,000 tons of material from 20,000 households.

"At this point in time we have collected 5,396.49 tons of materials for recycling," said John Homa, Public Service Department Solid Waste Project Manager. "In terms of environmental impact, that is equivalent to keeping 2,753 cars off the road for a year by preventing greenhouse gas emissions, or saving 35,784 trees used to make paper products, or saving 4,020 tons of natural resources such as coal and iron ore."

Households that signed up during initial enrollment were provided with a 96-gallon recycling bin. Materials are picked up every two weeks by Waste Connections, the City's waste contractor, and delivered to another contractor, Rock-Tenn Recycling. Rock-Tenn processes the materials and ships them to companies that make recycled products from the plastic and paper and other recyclables collected.

Sign-up for the program started in April 2011, and the initial goal of 20,000 households was reached in December. Regular curbside service for those enrolled began last October. Those signing up now for the program are placed on a waiting list. As residents leave the program for various reasons, such as moving out of town, those on top of the waiting list will be moved into the program.

"As curbside recycling customers ourselves, my family and I know what a great service this is," said Mayor Madeline Rogero. "The results from this first year show that Knoxville residents are diverting a huge amount of reusable materials from local landfills and helping protect and sustain our environment."

The program also provides recycling carts in the downtown business district for those residents in apartments and for small businesses in the area. Seventy-two tons of materials have been collected from that part of the program. City residents recycled an additional 3,091.73 tons of materials at City Drop-Off Centers during the past 12 months.

Approximately half of the participating households for curbside recycling have signed up for Recycle Bank, an incentive program that provides rewards points based on the pounds of materials recycled. The points can be used for coupons and discounts at local and national retailers in the area. More details on the program can be found on the web site at or by calling 311.

Acceptable items that can be recycled in the curbside program are:

Plastics: plastic bottles, plastic jugs, milk jugs, detergent containers, all plastic containers #1-7 with the exception of Styrofoam Metals: aluminum cans, steel cans, tin cans. No other metal is accepted Glass: bottles, glass jars (brown, clear, green only) Paper: newspaper, magazines, junk mail, office paper, cereal boxes, cardboard, and shredded paper (shredded paper should be placed in a paper bag to prevent scattered pieces)

Materials that should not be recycled include:

aluminum foil, aluminum or steel frying pans, batteries, ceramics, dishes, electronics, food waste, hazardous waste, light bulbs, medical waste, mirrors, plastic bags, shrink wrap, Styrofoam, trash, window or plate glass, yard waste, Christmas decorations or lights, water hoses. (Even though Styrofoam is classified as a #6 plastic it is not processed for recycling in this area by any company and cannot be placed in the recycling carts at this time.)