An environmental resource for East Tennessee Businesses

Don't toss that tree! (or the lights)


Christmas is behind us and many festive trees will soon be stripped of their finery.

If your tree is artificial, then back into storage (we hope!) it goes. But for those who chose a live tree, Knoxville and Knox County have disposal options to keep them out of our landfills and some organizations will also recycle trees and other items. Above, News Sentinel photographer Adam Lau photographed trees dropped off for recycling at Ijams Nature Center.

Knox County residents can drop off their tree anytime in January for free at one of five Knox County recycling centers. Just remove all ornaments, lights, wire, string and other decorations before bringing them to be tree-cycled and reused as mulch and other soil amendments. This option is also open to city of Knoxville residents.

Locations of Christmas Treecycling

  • Dutchtown Convenience Center - 10618 Dutchtown Road
  • Halls Convenience Center - 3608 Neal Drive
  • John Sevier Convenience Center - 1950 West John Sevier Highway
  • Powell Convenience Center - 7311 Morton View Lane
  • Tazewell Pike Convenience Center - 7201 Tazewell Pike

Christmas tree collection for city of Knoxville residents is the same process as for brush collection. Remove decorations and put your tree on the curb. Keep in mind it may stay there for a while -- the regular two-week brush pickup schedule won't resume until Feb. 1, according to the city website.  For faster removal, city residents can also take advantage of the Knox County recycling options above.

Other recycling options can help you give back to community organizations, or earn you a discount on next year's decorations.

Ijams Nature Center will take clean Christmas trees for multiple uses -- from making mulch for its 12 miles of trails to serving as natural critter habitat. Contact Ijams at 865-577-4717 ext. 110 for drop off dates and times. 

Area landscape firms like Green Achiever Nature's Best Organics will also take trees to turn into mulch. Other types of non-treated wood waste can also be recycled for $20 to $25 per ton.

If you'd rather not pack up your holiday lights, those can be recycled too.

Locally, Arc Knox County/Sunshine Industries , which  provides services and employment for adults with intellectual disabilities, will accept Christmas lights at any Knox County Pilot location, Three Rivers Market, and Food City on Clinton Highway through January 30. Just look for the blue barrels at these locations.

Lights can also be dropped off anytime at the Arc/Sunshine Industries office at 3000 North Central Street. 

Area scrap metal services, like Knoxville Recyclers, may also give you cash in return for your Christmas lights thanks to the copper wiring. They also accept a host of other household items that Santa may have might have brought you new and better versions of, including stereos, televisions and computers.

Or save on next year's decorations. Web-based retailers like will recycle your unwanted lights and send you a discount coupon for next year's purchase.

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This page is an archive of entries from November 2016 listed from newest to oldest.

October 2016 is the previous archive.

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