Iowa City residents that receive curbside services can place yard waste and food waste in the same container at the curb to be picked up and transported to the Iowa City Landfill's compost facility, where it is made into compost. Check out food waste reduction tips to learn how to minimize food waste. 

Set containers out by 7 a.m. on your regular curbside collection day to ensure pick up. Food and yard waste can be combined in the same plastic container. 

Residents no longer need to purchase City of Iowa City yard waste bags or annual stickers. Similar to trash and recycling fees, there is now a $2 charge on monthly utility bills for this service.

New Organics (Yard Waste and Food Waste) Carts 
an image of City of Iowa City organics carts

Official City of Iowa City organics carts is rolling out new carts for curbside customers. Curbside customer in Iowa City can receive either a 95-gallon or 25-gallon cart for organics (food waste and yard waste) curbside collection. Yard waste and food waste can be added to the same container for curbside pickup.

1.) 95-gallon organics cart 

The demand for 95-gallon carts has been significant. We are currently out of the initial supply of carts and are not taking additional names at this time. 

The City is currently ordering the next round of carts, and they will be delivered as soon as they are received. The City does not currently have funds available to meet the high demand for this size cart but are working to get more budgeted. Those who have signed up on the list are not guaranteed a cart this year. If you have not signed up for a 95-gallon cart, please check back for updates in early 2019.

2.) 25-gallon organics cart 

The 25-gallon carts have been distributed at a number of summer events. We are currently out of the initial supply of carts and are not taking additional names. 

If you have not already signed up to reserve a 25-gallon organics cart, the next order of carts will not be available until Spring 2019. At that time we will host additional pick up events, first-come, first serve (no sign-up necessary). More information will be available in early 2019. Check back for updates. 

For questions contact Resource Management at 319-356-5151.

Interested in a 2-gallon kitchen food scraps container?

Iowa City curbside customers that would like a 2-gallon kitchen food scraps container can pick one up at the City Hall Cashier office in Iowa City City Hall (410 E. Washington St.) during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Important things to note:
Kitchen Food Scraps Container
  • A full list of accepted food waste materials may be found in our Food Waste Handout.
  • These containers are not to be put at the curb, as they are not a proper curbside container. This container is for kitchen collection only. Materials collected can be emptied into your organics curbside container.
  • To help keep this container clean, use newspaper or ASTM D6400 certified-compostable bags to contain the food scraps.


Yard Waste Composting 

Yard waste such as grass, leaves, and garden residue can be bagged in any paper yard waste bag or placed in a yard waste container, 20-35 gallons in size, limit of 50 pounds. Food waste may be mixed with yard waste in containers. Do not place food waste in paper yard waste bags. 

Open burning of yard waste and other refuse is prohibited in Iowa City at all times.

Official City of Iowa City 95-gallon and 25-gallon organics carts are available to curbside customers. Check back here for more information or call 319-356-5151.

Woody Yard Waste 

Curbside customers may place fallen tree limbs, branches, brush and woody yard waste at the curb for pick-up on their normal garbage day only if it meets the following specifications:

  • Wood waste and brush must be four inches in diameter or less.
  • Must be securely tied in bundles that are no bigger around than 18 inches and no more than 48 inches in length.
  • Bundles must also weigh less than 50 pounds.
Woody Yard Waste Dimensions

Any brush not meeting the specifications listed above will be left at the curb.

Food Waste Reduction

Did you know that over 25 percent of what goes into the Iowa City Landfill is food waste? That’s approximately 34,000 tons of food each year, just in Johnson County. 

When food waste ends up in the landfill, it produces a harmful greenhouse gas called methane that is over 20 times stronger than carbon dioxide. This can impact local air quality and climate change. Composting is a better alternative to landfilling, but it is best not to waste food in the first place.

When we throw away food, we also waste all the water, energy, and natural resources used to produce, package, and transport food from farm to plate. In addition, wasted food means wasted money.

The following Food: Too Good To Waste strategies can help you reduce food waste:
Food: Too Good To Waste Logo

Have food that could be donated? Table to Table is a local non-profit organization that rescues edible food and delivers it to organizations in Iowa City that can use it. Learn more about the organization and how to volunteer by visiting,

Food Waste Composting 

Food waste such as coffee grounds, egg shells, meat bones, fruit and vegetable peels, pizza boxes, and food napkins can all be composted. View the Curbside Composting Guide. Food waste, and other compostable materials like yard waste, can be placed in an upright container, 20-35 gallons in size, limit of 50 pounds. Do not place food waste in paper yard waste bags.

Place food waste in newspaper or ASTM D6400 certified-compostable bags before placing food waste in curbside containers for pick up. Official City of Iowa City 25-gallon carts have been purchased and are available to residents. For more information, please call Resource Management at 319-356-5151.

Watch the Curbside Compost 101 video to learn more about the program and how to compost effectively. The video specifies 35-gallon containers, upright containers ranging in size from 20 to 35 gallons are now accepted.


Composting at home is another method to deal with food scraps.

Are you a business interested in composting? Businesses are encouraged to check out the EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge.

Self-Hauling Organics to the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center 

For information on self-hauling organics, yard waste and/or food waste, to the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, visit our Landfill and Recycling Centers webpage.

Questions? Contact Resource Management at 319-356-5151 or the Recycling Coordinator at 319-887-6110 or