Curbside Garbage

Report trash, recycling or cart issues to (865) 215-4311 or [email protected]

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“When in doubt, set it out!” Thanksgiving and Christmas are the only planned days of the year when curbside trash and recycling are not picked up as scheduled. If the holiday falls on or prior to your scheduled collection day during the week, collection is delayed by one day and Sanitation Workers work through Saturday to catch up. The following Monday, service resumes as usual.


City Approved Garbage CartSince January 2017, city-issued garbage carts have been picked up by trucks outfitted with automated arms. This modern automated system of collection saves tax-payer dollars, reduces litter, and keeps the drivers free from injury. Please follow these guidelines to ensure pickup:

Place garbage in the City-issued, dark grey garbage cart. We recommend using garbage bags to prevent litter that may escape while dumping.

Cart lid should be completely closed; please do not place bags on top of cart. Bags on the cart or that prop up the lid may prematurely fall out of the cart when it is raised for dumping, resulting in a mess. Overflow trash cannot be picked up. Please see list below for ways to manage any excess trash.

• Place Bulky Waste next to your trash cart by 7 a.m. on your service day. Bulky waste is NOT additional bags of garbage that the cart was too full to hold; bulky waste is furniture, tires, appliances, and other approved household items that are too large to fit in your empty garbage cart. Please see the Bulky Waste Page for more information about what can be picked up as Bulky Waste and how to set it out to ensure pick up.
• Set your cart out by 7 a.m. on your pick up day. Even if you have noticed a usual time when your garbage is picked up, this can change at any time. We recommend setting your garbage cart out the night before, any time after 6 p.m.

• Retrieve your empty cart from the curb by 9 pm on your pick up day.

Place garbage cart within one foot of the curb or the white road edge line. (Carts that are picked up in alleys should be within one foot of the alley asphalt.) If cars park on your street, please place the cart on the street and in between the cars so the automated arm can reach it.
Wheels of the cart should face your home; cart lid should open toward the street.

Place your cart at least 3 feet away from vehicles, utility poles, mailboxes, other garbage/recycling carts, or any other objects that might restrict the automated arm from picking up the cart. Drivers cannot risk damaging any property and may not be able to pick up your garbage cart if it is too close to an item.

Do not place cart so that it blocks traffic, mail service, sidewalks, or causes a safety issue.
How to Set Out Trash and Recycling Carts
•  Please do not force large items such as styrofoam or cardboard down into the cart; they may block the trash underneath. Drivers cannot return for trash that was trapped and could not flow freely out of the cart when dumped.

Please do not take the garbage cart with you if you move. Each cart has a unique serial number that is associated with its address.

If your cart is damaged or stolen, please call 311 or 865-215-4311.


Having trouble limiting your garbage to 95-gallons a week? Here are some options to help you manage your waste:

Sign up to recycle curbside for free. Call 311 or sign up online.

Take your waste to the City's Solid Waste Facility at 1033 Elm Street (off the I-275 Baxter exit). The first Saturday of every month (unless a holiday) is "Free for City Residents" day. Fees apply on other days.

Take your waste to any of the seven Knox County Convenience Centers, where you can dispose of both trash and recycling for free.

Rent a second, orange and blue garbage cart from Waste Connections for a monthly fee. Call 865-522-8161 Ext. 2 for more information. 


If your gray City of Knoxville garbage cart was not emptied on your regular pickup day, please follow these guidelines:

• Leave your cart at the curb; do not pull it back to your house. Occasionally drivers work late or collect missed carts the next day.

• Wait until the next business day to report. Trucks break down, construction blocks roads, and stops are rerouted. Even if you've noticed a pattern of when the truck comes by, there are no set times for pickup. You can't be sure you were missed until the following day; therefore, please wait to report.

• Report within two business days of being missed. If Monday is your pickup day, for example, please report on Tuesday or Wednesday. If you miss the reporting window, we still want to know--but the driver can't return for the trash until the next scheduled pickup day.

• Report by calling 311 or by using the "Report Missed Pickup" button above. For fastest service, please do not email to report. Consider downloading the "My Knoxville App" to report trash misses or any other City-related issue.


The City of Knoxville provides trash and recycling services to single-family homes, duplexes, triplexes, and quad-plexes located on a single parcel within the City limits. These services are paid for with City taxes, so there is NO need to set up an account nor pay a monthly bill. All you need to start your trash service is to set your City of Knoxville grey trash cart at the curb by 7 a.m. on your service day (please follow all the guidelines listed above).

Unless your home is newly built, there should already be a City of Knoxville trash cart at your new home from the last occupant. Please thoroughly check the garage, basement, periphery, and entire property (including alley, if applicable) to locate your cart. If you are certain there is no cart on the property, please report it as stolen by calling the non-emergency police hotline (865-215-7000) and then call 311 (or 865-215-4311) to give them the police report number and order your free trash cart. Renters are advised to ask their landlords if their cart is missing. Please only order trash cart replacements after you move in; new carts left at the curb for days or weeks tend to disappear.

(PLEASE NOTE: parcels with five or more residential units are responsible for managing their own waste by either paying a private waste hauling company or taking it to a Knox County Convenience Center or the City's Transfer Station.)

Do Your Part with the Carts