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24/7 Public Recycling Drop-Off

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 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


  • Styrofoam
  • 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
  • Newspaper
  • Hardback Books
  • Journals and Magazines
  • Spiral-bound Notebooks
  • Phone Books
  • Catalogs
  • 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
  • Food
  • Packing Peanuts
  • Styrofoam


You can place pallets on loading docks or near the trash dumpster outside most campus buildings.

  • Plastic pallets
  • Wooden pallets


  • Steel/Iron
  • Aluminum Scrap
  • Clean Copper
  • Stainless Steel
  • Brass (Keys & Doorknobs)


  • Chemicals
  • Drums
  • Steel/Aluminum Cans (Place in appropriate bins)
  • Aerosol Cans/Spray Cans
  • Aluminum Foil


  • Electronic Items
  • Cell Phones
  • Printers
  • Chargers
  • CDs & Cords
  • Video Games
  • Laptops
  • Computers
  • TVs*

*We accept all university-owned TVs. However, we ONLY take flat-screen TVs without any cracks from the public.


  • Cracked TVs
  • Non-Flat Screen TVs
  • Batteries (place in designated bin)
  • Refrigerators
  • 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
  • Hangers
  • Working electronics
  • Household items (lamps, rugs, bookends, etc.)
  • Clean Kitchenware (plates, cups, bowls, blenders, silverware, etc.)
  • School Supplies


  • Bedding
  • 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)
  • Undergarments
  • Opened first aid items
  • Open school supplies


What We No Longer Accept

We used to accept these, but can no longer due to local recycling changes.

As of 08/29/2019, the University of Tennessee will no longer be able to accept glass recycling. You may recycle glass containers at any of the 5 City Recycling Centers:

  • DOWNTOWN: Downtown Recycling Center – 227 Willow Ave.
  • NORTH: Behind shopping center at I-640 Plaza – 4440 Western Ave.
  • SOUTH: Goodwill at W. Moody Ave. – 225 W. Moody Ave.
  • EAST: Goodwill at Chilhowee Park – 210 Alice St.
  • WEST: Goodwill at Cedar Bluff – 341 Parkvillage Rd.

We also encourage the reuse of glass as containers for household items or in art projects. Don’t be afraid to get creative with sustainability.



The Drop-Off opened in 2014 to meet the needs of the UT and Knoxville community

Last fiscal year, UT Recycling diverted more than 3,175 tons of recyclable materials from the landfill, saving energy, landfill space, and preventing the need for new resource extraction. Our 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.

Local Benefits

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 PSC Metals in Knoxville
  • Cardboard often stays in Knoxville and goes to TAMKO to be made into roofing paper;
  • 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.


If you have questions about whether or not something you would like to bring to the drop off is recyclable, email