Knoxville’s first Household Hazardous Waste collection truck will hit the road before the end of the year. According to city leaders, it’s the first program of its kind in the state. Sitting on Elm Street Knoxville’s Solid Waste Management Facility was created to store waste. Built in 1997, it’s one of four permanent facilities in the state, inspected several times a year by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.
“The solid waste facility houses both the transfer station where people can bring garbage, and it also houses the household waste hazard facility,” said Patience Melnik, Knoxville’s Solid Waste Manager.
At the facility dropping off your rubbish is free, and in return can help keep our landfills safe. “Household hazardous waste should not go in the landfill for different reasons. Toxicity, flammability, those kinds of issues,” Melnik said.
For those who visit the HHW site, Manager Charlie Thomas is a familiar face. “You can bring flammable liquids, drain cleaner, fluorescent light bulbs, used batteries,” said site manager Charlie Thomas. “I’ve been here 10 years. We get to know them and they get to know us, so it’s really like a family atmosphere around here,” Thomas said.
A family Charlie hopes will soon expand. “I don’t think a lot of people know we’re here,” said Thomas.
“The household hazardous waste part of the facility is really low,” said Melnik. “Right now, only about 5% of county residents are actually using this facility.”
But now thanks to a grant from TDEC, Charlie is hitting the road to get the word out about the facility and collect more hazardous household waste. “It’s never been done before. We really don’t know what to expect yet,” Thomas said.