America Recycles Day is Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. The City of Iowa City encourages you to celebrate by recycling at the curb or at a drop-off location to support our community’s waste reduction and climate action goals.

The City continues to see increased rates of recycling since the distribution of new 65-gallon recycling carts last December. (Great work, Iowa City residents!) Recycling weights have increased an average of 30% per month over the previous year and contamination rates are remaining under 10%. Iowa City Recycling continues to emphasize quality over quantity for recycling.

“Recycling is successful with clean loads of materials,” says Jane Wilch, Iowa City Recycling Coordinator. “Contaminated loads of recycling that have Styrofoam, plastic bags, and other non-recyclable items can result in materials being landfilled, even when there are good recyclables in the mix. We encourage residents to check out the Curbside Recycling Guide for accepted materials or give us a call if they have questions."

Iowa City prioritizes recycling and continues to have viable markets for recycling materials if materials are clean. The City asks residents to empty and rinse their containers and only recycle accepted items. Carts with contamination will be tagged and left at the curb.

Concerned about recycling? Here's what you can do:

  • Reduce as much as possible! Choose reusable bottles, bags, and cups over disposable.
  • Avoid buying items that are not recyclable, including an item’s packaging. Buy items with as much recycled content as you can find to support recycling markets.
  • Empty/rinse bottles and containers before recycling to reduce contamination.
  • Support the Bottle Bill.
  • Be willing to sort materials if/when necessary for recycling.

City of Iowa City curbside recycling is available to residents living in single-family homes up to 4-plex apartment buildings. When your recycling cart is full, place at the curb by 7 a.m. on your regular collection day.

A $106,000 grant from The Recycling Partnership assisted the City with the purchase and delivery of carts to the 16,000 Iowa City households that receive curbside services, in addition to a robust, customized public education campaign. The Recycling Partnership is a national nonprofit that leverages corporate partner funding to transform recycling for good in cities and towns all across America. The grant is supported in part by the All In On Recycling challenge in conjunction with the PepsiCo Foundation.

Inspired by this community-wide recycling cart distribution, Iowa City implemented a strategic plan to educate its curbside customers about best practices through a series of five outreach campaigns over the last year. This work was recognized at the Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference in October, and the City of Iowa City received the “Government Recycling Program of the Year” Award.

For more information, visit To receive curbside service notices, sign-up at

For question about carts, contact Patricia Fossum, Assistant Superintendent-Refuse, at or 319-356-5466. For questions about recycling, contact Jane Wilch, Recycling Coordinator, at or 319-887-6110.

Date of publication

Thursday, November 14, 2019