Iowa City Recycling Updates

Single Stream Recycling

Your life just got easier. In an effort to make recycling simpler, curbside recycling has officially switched to single stream, meaning that you no longer have to sort recycling materials. Iowa City has implemented this system as it has proven to be effective at increasing participation in recycling in other communities.

In addition to making the user’s experience easier, the change will also be beneficial to the people picking up and sorting the recyclables. The city purchased new trucks to make it so workers don’t have to do sorting at the truck. Instead, the materials are compressed within the truck which increases the truck’s capacity, in turn saving time and money. After the materials are collected the truckloads are taken to Republic Services in Cedar Rapids where machinery and human power do the sorting for you.

What can be recycled?

Materials that can and cannot be recycled curbside have stayed the same, meaning paper, metal, plastic, and cardboard will be accepted while plastic bags and glass cannot. Plastic bags and glass pose a hazard to the single-stream recycling process due to the potential for being wrapped around equipment, contaminating materials, and being dangerous to workers, but can still be recycled separately at the four Iowa City recycling drop-off locations.

Cardboard Ban

In an effort to reduce waste in our community and divert millions of pounds of cardboard from the landfill, the local government has implemented a ban on cardboard disposal. Beginning on January 2, cardboard will no longer be allowed in the trash in Johnson County and the cities of Kalona and Riverside. Any truckloads at the Iowa City landfill that include cardboard will be charged double the regular tipping fee.

What now? Recycle!

Single Family Homes

All single-family homes up to 4-unit buildings have access to curbside recycling. In order to make the recycling process as efficient as possible, the City asks that you please break down and flatten all cardboard. Cardboard pieces should be no larger than 2×2 ft. If you have a large collection of cardboard to be recycled, please put the cardboard underneath your recycling bin.

Apartment Buildings

If you live in an apartment building that offers recycling, cardboard can be discarded in the recycling bin. If your apartment building has yet to provide a recycling service, do not fret! On November 1, 2016, the City Council passed a resolution that requires all multi-family apartments and condominiums to provide recycling for their tenants. By November of 2018, all apartment buildings in Iowa City will be required to provide a recycling service to their tenants.

Recycling Drop-off Locations

In addition to curbside and apartment building recycling, the city has five recycling drop-off locations dispersed throughout the area. You can find drop-off recycling bins at the following locations:

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