The Public Drop-Off is located at 2121 Stephenson Drive Dock 24 and is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All recyclable materials must be sorted according to the campus recycling guide, and/or the stickers located on each recycling bin.
What We Accept
All materials listed both below and in the campus recycling guide are accepted at the Public Recycling Drop-off. We also have a permanent bin for donations for the Free Store, a free clothing exchange for UT students.
In the bin labeled “Cans”
- Aluminum Beverage Cans (soda, beer cans)
- Steel Cans (“tin cans,” soup cans, vegetable cans, tuna cans, etc.)
- Aluminum Pet Food Cans
- Aerosol Cans/Spray Cans
- Aluminum Foil
- Aluminum Trays
- Clean Plastic Containers (Labeled No. 1-7.)
- Clean Plastic Bottles
- Clean Plastic Cups
- Clean Milk Jugs
- Clean Plastic Detergent Containers
- Dirty Plastic
- Plastic Straws
- CDs (place in E-waste bin)
- Office Paper (staples, paper clips, and binder clips are okay)
- Paper Board (often packaging like cereal boxes)
- Envelopes (plastic windows are okay)
- Sticky Notes
- Hardback Books
- Journals and Magazines
- Spiral-bound Notebooks
- Phone Books
- Hanging and File Folders
- Paper Cups
- Paper Plates
- Paper Milk/Juice Cartons
- Paper Towels
- Food/Beverage Wrappers (muffin liners, Starbucks/Einstein’s pastry wraps, etc.)
- Envelopes with Bubble Wrap
- Three-Ring Binders (only recycle the paper inside)
- Corrugated Cardboard (please break down)
- Empty Pizza Boxes
- Shipping Boxes
- Paper Board (cereal box material)
- Paper Juice/Milk Cartons
- Packing Peanuts
You can place pallets on loading docks or near the trash dumpster outside most campus buildings and set them next to the Cardboard compactor at the Public Recycling Drop-Off.
- Plastic pallets
- Wooden pallets
Glass is ONLY accepted for recycling in the designated large container at the Public Recycling Drop-Off. Please do NOT put glass in any other recycling container on campus. Please remove lids and only place empty, clean bottles and jars in the Glass recycling container. Please separate acceptable glass into the 3 different sections of the container there: Clear, Brown, Green. Blue glass or other colors should be placed with green glass.
- Glass bottles
- Glass jars
- Lab Glass
- Windows or sheet glass
- Light bulbs
- Candle jars
Only put plastic bags and plastic film/wrap in bins specifically marked for “Plastic Film and Bags”. Do NOT put these materials in regular recycling bins for Plastic nor in recycling bins for Cans & Plastic.
- Plastic Grocery Bags
- Plastic Trash Bags
- Plastic Film (plastic wrappers, plastic seals, etc.)
- Plastic Bottles
- Plastic Cups
- Plastic Film with Food Contamination
- Packing Tape
Only put scrap metal in containers marked specifically for Scrap Metal. Do NOT put scrap metal in containers marked for Cans.
- Aluminum Scrap
- Clean Copper
- Stainless Steel
- Brass (Keys & Doorknobs)
- Steel/Aluminum Cans (Place in appropriate bins)
- Aerosol Cans/Spray Cans
- Aluminum Foil
- Electronic Items
- Cell Phones
- CDs & Cords
- Video Games
*We accept all university-owned TVs. However, for TVs from the public, we ONLY accept flat-screen TVs without any cracks in the screen.
- Cracked TVs
- Non-Flat Screen TVs
- Batteries (place in designated bin)
- Smoke Detectors
- Lightbulbs (contact your building’s maintenance person for collection)
- Lithium-Ion Batteries
- Rechargeable Batteries
- Sealed Lead Acid Batteries
- Cellphone Batteries
- Computer Batteries
- Single-Use Batteries
- Alkaline Batteries
- Car Batteries
- Button Batteries
- Printer Cartridges
- Toner Cartridges
- Printers (place in E-Waste bin)
The Free Store is accepting these material donations from the public on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
- Clothing (clean and unstained)
- Shoes (clean or gently used)
- Accessories (clean/gently used bags, jewelry, gloves, belts, hats, scarves)
- Toys and games (gently used)
- Unopened cosmetic items
- Unopened First Aid items (bandages, ointments, medicine packets/bottles)
- Craft and art supplies
- Working electronics
- Household items (lamps, rugs, bookends, etc.)
- Clean Kitchenware (plates, cups, bowls, blenders, silverware, etc.)
- School Supplies
- Soiled / stained clothing, shoes, or accessories
- Bedding of any kind
- Broken toys / games
- Opened or used cosmetic items
- Broken hangers
- Furniture or mattresses
- Broken electronics (can be recycled at
2121 Stephenson Dr. Dock 26)
- Opened first aid items
- Open school supplies
The Drop-Off opened in 2014 to meet the needs of the UT and Knoxville community
Each fiscal year, UT diverts about 3,000 tons of recyclable and compostable material from the landfill, saving energy, landfill space, and preventing the need for new resource extraction. Our Public Recycling Drop-Off was a big part of this effort.
At the Public Recycling Drop-Off, you can recycle materials like printer and toner cartridges, batteries, e-waste, plastic film and bags, and scrap metal which are not acceptable through Knox County or City or Knoxville curbside recycling.
The Public Recycling Drop-Off is located less than a mile from the Tennessee River—one of the most plastic-polluted rivers in the entire world according to recent data from the University of Tennessee.
By offering plastic and plastic film and bag recycling at the Drop-Off, UT Recycling is actively working to combat this problem.
The Public Recycling Drop-Off also now has a permanent bin for donations for UT Recycling’s Free Store, a free clothing exchange for UT students.
Many of the materials from the Public Recycling Drop-Off stay local or at least within the region!
- Lots of our recycling goes to WestRock Recycling in Knoxville where the items get processed further and sold as commodities to the highest-paying manufacturers.
- Scrap metal goes to SA Recycling, TN Metals, or Noble Metals in Knoxville
- Cardboard often stays in Knoxville and goes to TAMKO to be made into roofing paper or to WestRock to be made into cardboard containers or display items;
- Paper often goes to Kimberly Clark in Loudoun, TN to be made into tissues, diapers, paper towels, etc.
- Aluminum cans often go to Arconic in Alcoa, TN to be made back into cans or other aluminum materials.
- Steel cans go to CMC in Knoxville to be made into structural steel.
- Glass goes to Blount County Recycling where it is crushed and used in roads in Blount County and in the future will be used in 3D printing applications.
- Plastic film and bags go to Food City’s distribution center where it is combined with other plastic and goes to Trex to be made into recycled plastic lumber.
If you have questions about whether or not something you would like to bring to the drop off is recyclable, email email@example.com.