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Makenzie Read
Waste and Resources Manager
[email protected]

Compost Events & Updates Compost FAQs
Backyard Composting Yard Waste / Compost Main Page

In February of 2022, The Knoxville Compost Project began as a small pilot program with the introduction of Knoxville’s first food scraps drop-off site located in the Old City. This pilot program was made possible through partnerships with BattleField Farm, City Possum Farm, and the TN Department of Environment and Conservation.

Due to its success, utilizing funds provided through the USDA’s Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Grant, The Knoxville Compost Project is expanding!

Additionally, this expansion is made possible by the continuing involvement and support of our great community partners whose logos are displayed below.

The Knoxville Compost Project’s plan for growth includes an increase in its number of food scraps drop-off sites, free backyard composting workshops, and support for composting at several community gardens throughout town. We are very excited to broaden composting efforts here in Knoxville!

Compost project partner logos
compost project partner logos


Before dropping off your food scraps, please review the Yes/No list below and then take the quiz to test your knowledge! Upon successfully completing the quiz, you will receive a code. You will need this code to unlock the combination padlocks on the food scraps bins at our drop-off locations; please save it for future reference!



• Fruits
• Vegetables
• Coffee Grounds
• Paper Coffee Filters
• Eggshells
• Nut Shells

Compost bucket

• Cooked Food
• Oils, Fats, Grease
• Meat, Seafood, Bones
• Dairy (Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Mayo, etc.)
• Bread, Rice, Grains
• Leaves or Brush
• "Compostable" Bags, Cups, Bowls, Utensils, Bioplastics, etc.
• Anything Plastic (Produce Stickers, Bags, Styrofoam, etc.)
• Animal Waste / Litter
• Charcoal
• Tea Bags

Click here to take compost quiz


There are three food scrap drop-off locations, each located at a different City of Knoxville Recycling Drop-off Center. The centers are open and staffed from 8 AM to 8 PM. 

DOWNTOWN: Old City - 227 Willow Ave
EAST: Chilhowee Park/Magnolia Ave - 210 Alice St
SOUTH: Chapman Highway - 225 W. Moody Ave.

In addition to the drop-off locations at the City Recycling Centers, there is a seasonal drop-off location at the Downtown Saturday Farmers' Market. From May to November, during the Summer Famers' Market, the drop-off bin will be located at our Compost Info Table on the Market Square Stage. During the Winter Farmers' Market, from December to March, the drop-off bin will be located at the Market's Info Booth. The Winter Farmers' Market runs December 2 -23 and Jan 20 - March 30. More information can be found on Nourish Knoxville's website.

DOWNTOWN (MAY to NOV): Downtown Saturday Farmers' Market - Market Square Stage (Saturdays 9 AM to 1 PM)
DOWNTOWN (DEC to MARCH): Downtown Winter Farmers' Market - Market Info Booth (Saturdays 10 AM to 2 PM)


[Click Here to View Larger Detailed Map on Google]


You can collect your food scraps in any lidded container placed on your kitchen countertop or underneath your sink. If you prefer to make less frequent trips to the drop-off site, store your scraps in the refrigerator or freezer to prevent odors.

If you are producing a lot of food waste, an inexpensive 5-gallon bucket with a sealing lid placed on a porch, in a garage, or near your outdoor trash will keep pests out and smells in.

A printed copy of the Yes/No list on your fridge will help you and your family remember which food scraps are accepted.

Setting a weekly alert on your phone can help remind you to take your food scraps to the drop-off before they're too fragrant. 


Have additional questions? Visit our FAQs page for the answers.

Compost events and updates are continually updated on our website! Check out this page to learn more.

Want to compost in your backyard? Click here to get started.

Do you have an established community garden? Would you like to receive a free compost bin? Click here for more info.