Sustainability Resources in Knoxville

Have you heard of all the sustainability resources our Scruffy City has to offer? From composting to recycling to crafting to gardening, Knoxville has a variety of organizations that keep our city clean and green and provide tons of resources on how you can do the same. Read below for sustainability resources around town, and please share others in the comments!

City of Knoxville Compost Project

The City of Knoxville’s Compost Project has made composting much more accessible across town. What began in February 2022 as a single drop-off site has expanded to more than three drop-off locations around Knoxville! Thanks to funds from USDA’s Community Compost and Food Waste Reduction Grant and several local partnerships, the Knoxville Compost Project continues to expand and improve Knoxville’s footprint! Read below for some details, and visit their website for more information.



Compost drop-off bins are located at three different City of Knoxville Recycling Drop-off Centers, open from 8 am to 8 pm daily:

  • Downtown: Old City - 227 Willow Ave
  • East: Chilhowee Park/Magnolia Ave - 210 Alice St
  • South: Chapman Highway - 225 W. Moody Ave

They also offer seasonal drop-off bins on Saturdays at the Market Square Farmers Market (Winter and Summer). More details are available on their website. Be sure to review their compost list and take their compost quiz to get the lock code!

Keep Knoxville Beautiful

Keep Knoxville Beautiful has been keeping Knoxville “cleaner, greener and more beautiful” for over 40 years through litter cleanups, environmental education and resources, and community beautification. Volunteer at one of their cleanups, or let them help you organize a beautification effort.



Their next volunteer event is Sat, Feb 17 from 10-12 planting trees and picking up litter along Parkview Ave. You can also join them Sat, Mar 2 from 9-12 for their North Knox Community Cleanup. View upcoming events and sign up on their website!

A bit of KKB’s impact is measured in their 2023 Facts & Figures graphic below. It’s amazing what a difference they’ve made in our community with tons of help from volunteers!

Sustainable Fabric Workshop

If you have any interest in crafting, you have to check out Sustainable Fabric Workshop in South Knoxville! It’s a wonderful volunteer-led resource where you can get sustainable (secondhand, reused, scrap) crafting materials for FREE. Their goal is to eliminate fabrics from our landfills while helping people create. You can donate or get materials during their open hours (see below), learn from experienced volunteers, and take classes. You can even adopt an unfinished project!



Open hours (check their Facebook page for updates)

  • Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
  • Second Saturday: 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
  • Second Monday: 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Located at the South Knoxville Community Center at 522 Maryville Pike, 37920.

Recycling Around Town

Both the City and the County have curbside and drop-off recycling options. Review their websites for more information about recycling, including glass (not recyclable curbside!) and other waste.

4th & Glass is a new local curbside glass recycling company that began operating in 2023 due to the lack of curbside glass recycling in Knoxville. Most glass goes to Blount County's glass recycling facility, while the cleanest glass goes to local artisans to reuse for projects. Subscriptions for monthly glass pickup start at $12.50 – learn more on their website!



UT Knoxville has a 24/7 public recycling drop-off located at 2121 Stephenson Drive Dock 24 that accepts a variety of items, including plastic film/bags, glass, e-waste, and scrap metal. Items must be placed in designated bins. Check their recycling guide before you go!



Here at KnoxFill, we have several Terracycle bins for community recycling. Our boxes include: Blades, Razors, & Packaging, Personal & Oral Care, Alkaline Only Batteries, Natural & Synthetic Corks, and Beauty Products & Packaging.

Community Gardens & CACs

We have several community gardens around Knoxville. You can join their local gardening efforts by volunteering with them, purchasing produce or donating, or sharing their resources.

One of our most well-known gardens is CAC Beardsley Community Farm, whose mission is “to increase food security in Knoxville by providing fresh produce, accessible education, and land and resources for gardening.” They support regenerative agriculture, donate fresh food to various programs, and maintain over 24 community gardens around Knoxville. Beardsley has volunteer hours that vary seasonally throughout the year, including a monthly Saturday workday. Their next Saturday Work Day is February 24, followed by a Seed Swap!



Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum is not only a beautiful place to wander and enjoy a variety of gardens, but they also have a Family Garden with several raised garden beds for rent to provide gardening resources for their local community.



Other organizations and resources include Battlefield Farms and Gardens, OLPN Burwell Gardens, Native Plant Rescue SquadRooted East Knox, Knoxville Garden Alliance, Sustainable Future Center, and more.



Want to start your own garden in your backyard? Utilize these community resources and look out for seed swaps. The Water Forum has great resources for building your own rain barrels including this virtual workshop. Green Heron Compost is selling their local compost – and we carry bags at KnoxFill while supplies last! 

Local Food

Knoxville has some amazing farmers markets around town!

Buying produce locally supports the local economy, lowers your environmental footprint, and provides your body with fresh nutrients. Nourish Knoxville has lots of resources about farmers markets around town, including information about how to use EBT/SNAP for farmers market food. Knoxville’s most popular farmers market is the Market Square Farmers Market on Saturdays. See their website for more info about dates, times, and seasonal changes.



FarmGrub is a food delivery service in East TN focused on connecting local farmers to local families. They partner with dozens of farms in the region to bring fresh food to your door — and they offer same-day delivery!



You can also purchase local products for delivery through Market Wagon.

Energy

If you live in East Tennessee, you may be able to get a customized home energy evaluation through TVA’s EnergyRight program for FREE! They offer both in-person and virtual evaluations. See if you are eligible here. You could also be eligible for rebates on energy-efficient home updates!

KUB’s Green Switch Match makes it easy to support solar projects and offset your home’s energy usage. The average customer pays $11/month to offset their monthly electricity consumption with an equivalent amount of renewable solar energy generated in the TN Valley.



Drivers can access about 50 public and private EV charging stations in Knoxville. Want to know where they are, or recommend a new location? Check out the City’s interactive map of EV charging stations.

UTK Student Resources

The University of TN has great sustainability resources across campus. Check out UT's Compost Facility, Free Store, Grow Lab, Recycling, Zero Waste Gamedays, and more at the Office of Sustainability. If you want to pursue a career in sustainability, you can even study Sustainability, Environmental Studies, and other environmental-focused majors (and minors!) at UT.

UT's Compost Facility makes a huge impact on the campus food waste, emissions, and soil health. "From July 2021 to June 2022, UT composted over 2.7 million pounds of food waste, animal waste, and landscaping debris combined." That's amazing work, and it's only growing!

KnoxFill

We’re honored to be your local refillery here in Knoxville! At KnoxFill we do our best to be a sustainability resource for our community and beyond. We sell refillable soaps, local goods, bulk foods and spices, and more to help make low-waste living more accessible to everyone... But really, we are in the business of saving the planet, and that’s what matters to us most.



We offer in-store recycling through Terracycle, host sustainable workshops, share resources via social media and blogs, support dozens of local makers and small businesses, sell hundreds zero waste home goods, and provide a judgment-free space for learning and growth. We’re always open to your ideas and feedback, and would love to help you reach your sustainability goals! Follow us on Instagram or Facebook, browse our website, and come see us Tuesday through Sunday at 3211 South Haven Rd (hours on website!).

What else??

Do you know of other sustainability resources in Knoxville? Please share them in the comments!

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