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Litter, Illegal Dumping, and Adopt-a-Road

Litter and dumping is a crime. Knox County Solid Waste litter crew leaders manage a county-wide litter pick up program where non-violent offenders visit and clean up roads on a daily basis in exchange for community service hours. A full-time Environmental Crimes Investigator is notified and follows up on litter and dumping activity that is reported to our office. Our department also partners with civic groups willing to adopt roads in order to keep our community clean. Along with cleanup and investigative roles the County funds a litter education program through the litter education services contractor. More information on each activity is available below.

Knox County Litter Ordinance
Knox County Ordinance 96-4-101 makes it unlawful to throw trash onto the ground, allow trash to blow out of a moving vehicle or leave trash in places not designated for regular trash pickup. It is everyone's responsibility to maintain control of their trash so that it does not become litter. The penalty for littering or illegal dumping is up to $1,000 plus court costs.

To Report Litter or Illegal Dumping

If you know of littered roads or road side dumps or wish to report dumping activity please report them to our office. If you witness the dumping while it is happening or if you see someone littering, get a complete description that may include a description of the individual, the vehicle make, model and color, tag number, location and time of day. You should report litter and dumping using the tools below. The online form goes directly to the litter crew leaders and to solid waste staff members:

  • You may also call the Solid Waste Office at 215-5865 (ext. 0) and leave a detailed message. It is helpful to leave a call back number in case litter or dumps cannot be easily located.
  • You may also report some activities directly to the State of Tennessee by filling out the State Beautification Form or calling toll-free 1-877-8-LITTER (the State may send a letter to the registered owner of the Tennessee vehicle informing them of the negative consequences of their littering actions and providing them with educational materials)


If you are a member of a business, civic club, church or other organization (including family), you can "Adopt-A-Road.” Adopt-A-Road organizations agree to pick up litter at least twice a year along a section of a Knox County approved road, and will receive signs marking their work area after their second cleanup. The County will provide bags, safety vests, gloves, litter pickers and warning signs as requested. After groups arrange a cleanup, Knox County Solid Waste will pick up the bags along the roadside or groups may take the material directly to a county disposal facility.

  • If you are interested adopting a road please fill out the Adopt-A Road Signup Request Form and someone will follow up with you shortly.
  • To request supplies and/or notify Solid Waste personnel about an upcoming cleanup click here (for existing Adopt-A-Road groups only).
  • To report cleanup results to Solid Waste from a recent collection or clean-up activity click here  (for existing Adopt-A-Road groups only).

Litter Education Program

A local nonprofit, Keep Knoxville Beautiful, is contracted to provide litter education to five target groups in Knox County. The five target groups are local businesses, media outlets, Knox County citizens, students and government workers. Click here for more information about our Litter Education Contractor and to find out how you can be more involved in litter education and prevention.

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Solid Waste Administrative Office

Phone: 865-215-JUNK (5865)
Fax: 865-215-5820

Solid Waste administrative Office Hours:
Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:30 pm
Department Email