County offers Christmas lights, trees recycling

Now that the Thanksgiving turkey leftovers are put away, families are pulling out their Christmas lights, testing them before hanging them on the tree and discovering some bulbs have gone bad.

Zachary Johnson, recycling coordinator with Knox County Sold Waste, recommended instead of throwing those lights in the trash, where they will end up in the landfill, recycle them.

“Anything you can keep out of the landfill is beneficial, especially with electronic waste,” Johnson said. “If we are repurposing these items, it’s better than throwing them in the landfill, especially if the waste has value.”

Christmas lights have metal wire and plastic recyclers want because they can reuse them, he said.

A Goodwill Industries attendant will be on site at four of Knox County Solid Waste’s locations to accept the lights for recycling.

“Goodwill has a contract with electronic recyclers,” Johnson said. While the centers no longer accept televisions, most of the centers will accept Christmas tree lights, computers, old cell phones and other general electronics waste, he said.

The lights may be dropped off at Dutchtown Convenience Center, 10618 Dutchtown Road; Halls Convenience Center, 3608 Neal Drive; John Sevier Convenience Center, 1950 W. Gov. John Sevier Highway, and Karns Convenience Center, 6930 Karns Crossing Lane.

There is no charge for Knox County residents to drop off items at these centers, which are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturdays.

Then after Jan. 2, Johnson said Dutchtown, Halls, John Sevier, Karns, Powell and Tazewell Pike convenience centers will begin accepting Christmas trees for recycling.

“We would ask for lights and ornaments to be taken off of the trees,” Johnson said.

Knox County contracts with Green Energy Biofuels, which recycles the trees.

“They are ground up and turned into mulch,” Johnson said. Residents may contact the contractor and purchase the mulch.

Johnson said the numbers of people recycling has increased.

The county convenience centers received 2,078 trees in January 2016, which was an increase from January 2015, when the centers received 1,763 trees and January 2014, when the centers received 1,352 trees, he said.

“I think more and more people are becoming aware of this service,” he said.

Residents also can recycle cooking oil, wrapping paper and cardboard boxes.

For more information, call 215-5865 or visit online at