Plastic clamshells are shown.

The City of Iowa City offers recycling programs via curbside collection and drop-off locations in Iowa City, with a wide variety of materials accepted for recycling. Over a period of time, programs can require change for various reasons, some due to market availability, industry changes, or consumer activity. 

Here is a list of program updates or changes: 

  • Plastics bottles and jugs associated with food and beverages can be recycled via curbside collection or drop-off locations. 
    • Items not accepted in recycling
      • Plastic bags, film, wrap
      • Styrofoam
      • Clamshell plastic containers, usually #1 and #5 (pictured above)
        • The pandemic has caused a significant increase in the use of clamshells by consumers, which negatively impacts the quality of materials processed by plastic recycling companies. Pre-pandemic quantities of clamshell plastics were processable because they were a low percentage of the overall plastic mix with no significant impact on the recycled plastic purity.
        • Clamshell plastics cannot be recycled, but they can be reused. This holiday season, reuse them for holiday cookie deliveries or to store meal leftovers.
        • You can continue to recycle clean fiber/paper-based clamshells. Those with food contamination can be composted!
  • Alkaline batteries can now be recycled (in addition to all other single-use and rechargeable batteries) at the Iowa City Landfill’s Hazardous Material Collection Facility and at Iowa City Fire Station #2 West. For more info, visit
  • Hardcover books can now be recycled at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center (bin located in electronics recycling bay). 
  • Holiday light strands can now be recycled at several locations in Iowa City and Coralville through January 10, 2021. For a full list, visit
  • Hazardous material such as cleaners, aerosols, paint, auto fluids, batteries, sharps, and other chemicals can be properly disposed of at the Hazardous Material Collection Facility which established regular open hours earlier this year. Johnson County residents can dispose of hazardous material at no cost on Thursday, Friday, or Saturday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Businesses and non-profits, please call 319-887-6160 for more information.
  • Landfill Bans: These items are not allowed to be landfilled, and must be properly recycled and handled through programs offered by the City of Iowa City:
    • ​​​​​​Yard waste

    • Cardboard

    • Computers and TV monitors

    • Tires

    • Appliances

    • Lead acid batteries

    • Oil

For updated information on accepted materials and guides, including the Curbside Recycling Guide, visit

Date of publication

Thursday, December 03, 2020