Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the traditional in-person event has been canceled, and no donations or sales will take place this year. 

Online activities and resources are available to promote responsible materials management, waste reduction, reuse, and repair.  


Rummage in the Ramp is an annual City-sponsored effort that began in 2007 to keep tons of reusable items out of the landfill, and get those items to those who need them when the lease changeover occurs annually at the end of July. This work dramatically reduces the amount of goods that go to the landfill, a sustainability goal that serves as a vital part of the City's Climate Action and Adaptation Plan. Environmental and human services non-profits and organizations work the event, and split the profits.

While the in-person event is canceled this year, the planning committee would like to express appreciation and gratitude to all our volunteer groups and sponsors representing local non-profits, organizations, and businesses that make this event possible year after year. 

Virtual Activities and Resources

Check out the list below for a selection of local resources if you are moving out of or into a home, as well as, ways to get involved in waste reduction in our community. 

1. Iowa City Resale and Consignment Directory 

For year-round consignment and donation opportunities, check out this directory. While Rummage is not happening in-person this year, these stores and organizations offer a variety of donation and consignment options. Some stores offer pick-up options for donation items if you do not have transportation. Beyond donating or selling, Iowa City residents can purchase items, and even furnish an apartment or home, at an affordable price with gently-used items. 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, it is recommended to check with local stores before visiting, as hours, services, and customer capacity may change. 

Freecycle.org is another great resource that supports local reuse. This website is a platform for locals to post items they wish to get rid of or need. The items are free, and it is free to participate. 

2. Rummage ReDux Challenge

Do you like to get creative with repurposing and upcycling "stuff?" If so, Rummage ReDux may be the upcycling competition for you! The Rummage ReDux Challenge is an opportunity to spur your creative side and "redux" (meaning to revive, bring back, transform) items from simply serviceable to shockingly spectacular, while competing against other participants. More details on this competition are available below. 

3. Rummage Volunteer Appreciation 

The volunteer groups that make Rummage in the Ramp possible year after year represent local environmental, human service, and social service non-profit organizations. In addition to their support of Rummage, these organizations work every day to offer vital services and support to our Iowa City community.

With the in-person event canceled this year, these groups will not be receiving funding support like they have in past years volunteering with us. We encourage our community to learn more about the organizations that represent Rummage in the Ramp and how each of us can support the work that they do. 

2019 Volunteer Groups: 

Antelope Lending Library   I  Association of Latinos Moving Ahead (ALMA)  I  Bluestockings  I  Bur Oak Land Trust Compeer Program of Johnson County  I  Field to Family  I  Four Oaks  I  Free Lunch Program  I  Gospel Explosion Ministry  I  Houses into Homes  I  Iowa Agni  I  Iowa City Free Medical and Dental Clinic  I  Iowa Humane Alliance  I  Iowa Master Naturalists  I  Iowa Shares  I  Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity  I  Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity ReStore  I  Iowa Youth Writing Project  I  Johnson County Humane Society  I  Lambda Theta Nu  I  Oaknoll RARE (Raptor Advocacy Rehabilitation Advocacy) Riverside Theatre  I  SIIHR (Students of Hydroscience & Engineering)  I  Shelter House  I  Successful Living  I  UI Environmental Coalition   I  UI LULAC Collegiate Council #373  I  UI Urban & Regional Planning Student Association  I  Unitarian-Universalist Society of Iowa City   I  Young Life Iowa City

4. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Repair, Fix, Repurpose

Leaky faucet, wobbly table, torn sweater, or smelly washing machine — you name it, there is a repair solution. Save some money and reduce waste by fixing what you already own instead of buying new. The following websites have simple and affordable tips on how to fix or repair stuff around the house with a large library of tutorials for all sorts of common at-home items. 

If you like DIY projects, stay tuned for more repair and fix-it resources at Climate Festival 2020 this September. 

5. Rummage Revisit

Are you Rummage reminiscing like we are? If so, join us in celebrating the 14th year of Rummage (OUTSIDE) the Ramp by sharing a photo of a secondhand treasure or multiple treasures you have found at past Rummage events.

Snap a photo, and share the photo, along with anything you want to say about the item(s). Send photos to jane-wilch@iowa-city.org and the photos will be shared via the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Facebook page. Cheers to waste reduction!

6. Local Materials Management

Are you moving this summer and plan to have materials that need to be properly handled, recycled, or landfilled? The City of Iowa City has a number of local programs to help you manage any materials you plan to part with. 

  • Hazardous Materials: It it normal to have old cleaners or paints that you need to properly dispose of when moving. Any household cleaners, lawn chemicals, auto fluids, batteries, and more can be properly disposed of at the Hazardous Material Collection Facility at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center.
    • The facility is open every week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., no appointment needed. Hazardous material drop-off is no cost to Johnson County residents. 
  • Electronics and Appliances: If you have electronics (TV, computer, cell phone, DVD player, printer, etc.) or appliances (refrigerator, stove, microwave, vacuum cleaner, coffee maker, toaster, etc.) that you would like to get rid of, you can recycle these at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center for a fee. 
    • Electronics and appliances can be recycled at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center anytime during open hours, Monday to Saturday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is needed. 
  • Curbside Collection Services: If you live in a single-family home up to a 4-unit apartment building, you have access to City curbside collection of trash, recycling and organics. Please have containers at the curb by 7 a.m. on your regular collection day to ensure pickup. 
    • Trash: Bag all trash, and place in your City-issued 65-gallon green-top cart. 
    • Recycling: Keep all recycling materials loose, and place in your City-issued 65-gallon blue-top cart. Curbside Recycling accepts cardboard, a variety of mixed paper, plastics (#1-5 and #7), metal cans/aluminum pie pans and foil, and waxy cartons. 
    • Organics (Food and Yard Waste): Food (fruit and vegetable parts, grains, dairy and meat products, coffee grounds) and yard waste (grass, leaves, branches, garden waste) can be combined in one container (City-issued cart, or a personal 20-35 gallon upright container) for curbside collection. Yard waste may also be placed in paper yard waste bags, but do not place food waste in paper yard waste bags. 
  • Drop-off Recycling Locations: A variety of materials can be properly recycled or disposed of at three local recycling drop-off locations. 
    • Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center: cardboard, a variety of mixed paper, plastics (#1-5 and #7), metal cans/aluminum pie pans and foil, waxy cartons, glass bottles and jars, scrap metal, motor oil and oil filters, vegetable oil, light bulbs, appliances, electronics, bicycles, tires, yard and food waste, batteries, hazardous material, sharps and syringes, roof shingles
    • East Side Recycling Center: cardboard, a variety of mixed paper, plastics (#1-5 and #7), metal cans/aluminum pie pans and foil, waxy cartons, glass bottles and jars, motor oil and oil filters, vegetable oil, wine corks
    • North Dodge Recycling Center: cardboard, a variety of mixed paper, plastics (#1-5 and #7), metal cans/aluminum pie pans and foil, waxy cartons, glass bottles and jars 

Rummage ReDux Challenge

Do you love to repair, repurpose, or upcycle? The Rummage ReDux Challenge is an opportunity to spur your creative side and "redux" (meaning to revive, bring back, transform) items from simply serviceable to shockingly spectacular, while competing against other participants.

This year, as with many other events, Rummage ReDux is going virtual with a more flexible format and online submission application.

  • Use items that are found typically at Rummage in the Ramp (furniture, books, clothing, household/kitchen items, sporting goods, picture frames).  You can use something you already have, purchase an item at a secondhand store or garage sale, or find on the curb. It is preferred that items not be purchased new although supplies necessary to transform the items(s) may be purchased new.
  • Snap photos of your item before, during and after the transformation process.
  • Track the total cost and time spent on your project.
  • Complete the submission application by Friday, July 24, 2020 at 5 p.m.
  • Judges will review the submission and contestants will be notified no later than Friday, August 7, 2020.
  •  Most importantly - keep it simple and have fun! Your creation should be affordable to make and easily recreated.

Rummage ReDux Submission Application


$100- 1st place prizes and $50 - 2nd place prizes will be awarded to entries in each of the three categories:

  • Furniture Restoration – refinish, repaint, reupholster
  • Artistic Reinvention – remake ordinary objects into works of art
  • Creative Re-Adaption – recreate items from an intended use to a creative reuse

Participants must designate one category for each entry on their submission form.   


Five hobbyists/professionals/recyclers will evaluate each project based on the following (participant names will be anonymous to the judging panel until following their decisions):

  • Affordability and ease of project to be recreated by the general public
  • Imaginative reuse and overall improvement
  • Quality of the work
  • Functionality of completed project

 Anyone can participate, but prizes cannot be awarded to contestants who live outside of Johnson County or are City of Iowa City employees.

Questions? Contact Marcia Bollinger at Marcia-Bollinger@iowa-city.org or 319-356-5237. 

2019 Recap

The 13th annual Rummage in the Ramp event diverted more than 32 tons of materials from curbs and dumpsters, setting a new record as more than 800 residents donated their still-usable items. 

In 2019, 31 groups volunteered during the event and will share the more than $21,000 raised, also a new record for the event. The money raised will help these organizations continue doing great work in the Iowa City community.

A glance at items diverted from the landfill:
  • 392 chairs (office, dining, or outdoor)
  • 267 boxes of clothing
  • 246 books shelves, dressers, or entertainment centers
  • 184 coffee/end tables
  • 157 small appliances
  • 115 boxes of books
  • 115 chairs (upholstered)
  • 106 couches
  • 67 desks
  • 50 large tables (dining or outdoor)

After more than a decade, Rummage in the Ramp has kept over 320 tons of items out of the landfill. Nearly 30,000 people have purchased items, and over 2,500 volunteers have worked the event, sharing more than $208,000 to support their organizations.

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