Quick Recycling Guide

For Williamson County, TN

Recycling programs can vary by county, city, organization, or location. Please review these guidelines for recycling at Williamson County convenience centers, drop-off locations, Williamson County Schools, or at the Material Recovery Facility.

Click here for residential recycling locations in Williamson County.

Wondering what happens to your recycling?

Watch this virtual tour of our Material Recovery Facility to learn what happens to your recycling! 
Special thank you to Brentwood Library for filming and featuring our recycling facility!

Glass Jars & Bottles

  • Rinse bottle and discard lid.
  • Sort by color: (1) clear, (2) green/blue, and (3) brown

Plastic # 1 & # 2 Only

  -  Effective January 1, 2020,  Williamson County will be accepting Plastics # 1 & # 2 Only in the mixed plastic recycling bin at all county convenience centers and recycling drop-offs.

To check if a plastic item is recyclable in Williamson County... Look for the recycling symbol on the plastic item in question.
There should be a # 1 or # 2 inside the symbol.
  • Includes mostly plastic bottles and jugs (see visual examples below)
  • Leave ON plastic bottle caps and labels
  • Rinse First - Only recycle items that are clean and mostly dry
  • No Plastics labeled # 3 - # 7
  • No Plastics without a recycling symbol - When in Doubt, Throw it Out!
  • No Plastic Bags
  • No Foam
  • No Food Waste



  • Please rinse items before recycling.
  • Aluminum cans, such as soda cans - bendy, flexible metal
  • Aluminum foil
  • Aluminum disposable bakeware (pie pans, muffin tins, or lasagna dishes, etc.)
  • No chip bags, granola bar wrappers, or Capri Sun pouches, as these items are often a bonded combination of aluminum and plastic.

Mixed Paper

Paperboard Example
  • Computer or Office Paper
  • Junk Mail (plastic windows on envelopes are okay to recycle with paper)
  • Magazines
  • Newspapers
  • Shredded Paper - No Plastic Bags
  • Notebook and Legal Pad Paper
  • Paperback and Hardback Books or Workbooks
  • File Folders (both manila and colorful)
  • Mostly Clean and Dry Paper Plates - No Food Contamination
  • Cartons, including milk cartons
    • Rinse first. Mostly clean and dry cartons only.
    • No bonded material cartons - no cartons with an aluminum lining inside.
    • Waxy coating on milk carton exterior is okay.
  • Paperboard thin boxes and bags (see photo example to right)
    • Tear edge of box to determine if material is paperboard or cardboard. White fibers inside indicates paperboard that should be recycled as Mixed Paper. Brown fibers indicate cardboard and should be recycled with Corrugated Cardboard.

Mixed Cardboard

  • Includes corrugated cardboard boxes, commonly known as "shipping boxes"
  • Includes thin cardboard: cereal boxes, pasta boxes, cookie boxes, cracker boxes, etc. that tear brown
  • Includes cardboard egg cartons
  • Includes brown paper bags - these tear brown
  • Please flatten all items.
  • Please remove any foam or plastic packaging from cardboard.

Steel & Tin Cans

  • Please rinse. Recycle items that are mostly clean and dry.
  • Includes soup cans, many pet food cans, vegetable cans, etc.

Recycling Tips for Williamson County, TN Recycling

Tear Test

Do you know the difference between thin cardboard and paperboard?

They often look very similar! This is when the "tear test" comes in handy! Tear the edge of the thin box or bag in question.
  • If the fibers inside are brown, the material is cardboard and should be recycled in the mixed cardboard bin at the nearest county convenience center.
  • If the fibers inside are white, the material is paperboard and should be recycled in the mixed paper bin at the nearest county convenience center.


You have probably heard this word before, but what does "contamination" mean in the recycling world?

Contamination occurs when materials are put into the incorrect bin.
  • For example, if a bin is labeled "mixed paper only", putting a plastic bottle in that bin would be considered contamination. Although both materials are recyclable, the plastic bottle was sorted incorrectly.
  • This can cause problems with the recycling process, depending on the equipment and system in place. Always follow the recycling rules of the company/organization you are utilizing.
  • Contamination also occurs when trash is put in a recycling bin. This includes materials being recycled that were not suitable for the recycling stream (like a plate covered in food grease).

Reminder: These tips apply to Williamson County recycling. If you recycle curbside or with a private hauler, please check with your hauler for recycling guidelines.