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The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center serves Johnson County, Kalona and Riverside. Each year, the landfill takes in about 125,000 tons of trash. Trash is landfilled according to stringent federal and state regulations to ensure that environmental protection is in place.

The landfill has been at its current location since 1971. In total, the landfill is about 400 acres in area, about half which contains buried trash. Remaining land is used for wetlands and as a buffer for surrounding properties.

The Iowa Waste Reduction and Recycling Act was legislated in 1989 and banned several items from Iowa landfills, including yard waste, tires, lead acid batteries, appliances and oil. This initiated recycling programs for these items that are still in place today.

Environmental Management System

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center is designated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as an Environmental Management System. Being an EMS includes setting a policy statement, goals and targets; the EMS framework focuses the landfill on continuous improvement in six key areas set up by the Iowa State Legislature:

  • Environmental education 
  • Greenhouse gas reduction
  • Household hazardous waste
  • Recycling services
  • Water quality improvement
  • Yard waste management

Self-hauling

To take your own trash to the landfill, separate trash from appliances, electronics, yard waste and recycling. Cover your loads to ensure that items do not blow out. 

Use lane #2 at the landfill; when it's your turn, pull up to the window (in the silver silo) and let the scale master know what you have. The landfill accepts cash, checks, Mastercard and Visa.

Iowa City residents:  $3.25 for any garbage load less than 140 pounds; approximately 50 cents for each additional 20 pounds over 140 pounds. Charge per ton is $42.50.

Non Iowa City residents:  $3.50 for any garbage load less than 140 pounds; approximately 50 cents for each additional 20 pounds over 140 pounds. Charge per ton is $47.50.

Special fees

  • Appliances: $12.50 per appliance; $1 per cubic foot for large commercial appliances
  • Asbestos: Friable - $105 per cubic yard; Non-friable - $105 per ton
  • Petroleum contaminated soil: $43.50 per ton (three ton minimum)
  • Tires: $0.07 per pound ($3 minimum)
  • Shingles:  $30 per ton (must be clean loads--no other debris allowed)
    • The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, in conjunction with LL Pelling, recycles shingles for use in asphalt paving.  Loads of shingles for recycling must be clean; no trash can be mixed in with the shingles.  Any loads containing trash will be charged the regular trash fee.  Ask your roofer or contractor to recycle shingles at the landfill!

Other disposal information

Compact fluorescent light bulbs and tubes

Electronic waste

Hazardous waste

Used motor oil: Accepted at no charge at the landfill drop-off building and at East Side Recycling Center (oil recycling shed). No appointment is necessary. Please leave your containers on the shelves provided.

Yard waste

Compost and wood chip mulch

The landfill will have compost available beginning Tuesday, September 13.

The Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center produces Iowa City Community Compost from yard waste from around Johnson County. When available, the compost cost $20 per ton with a $2 minimum. We can load your truck or trailer with an endloader; if you want smaller amounts, please bring a container and a shovel to load yourself.

The landfill also produces wood chip mulch, which is $10 per ton with a $2 minimum.  We can load your truck or trailer with an endloader; if you want smaller amounts, please bring a container and a shovel to load yourself.

Educational opportunities

Looking for a speaker to talk about waste reduction or recycling? Or maybe your class or group would like to take a tour of the landfill. Each year, landfill staff members talk to thousands of people about what we do at the landfill and how residents can reduce their waste. Watch for us at Earth Day celebrations, Rummage in the Ramp, Farmers Market, the Iowa City Public Library and more! If you would like someone to talk to your group or set up a landfill tour, contact Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jordan.