As of July 1, 2021, the City of Iowa City curbside organics (food scraps and yard waste) collection program will no longer accept personal 20-35 gallon containers. Customers will be required to utilize a City-issued organics cart (25-gallons or 95-gallons, yellow lid), paper yard waste bags (for yard waste only), and/or bundles for collection.

The City transitioned to carts for trash 20 years ago; the transition to recycling and organics carts began three years ago. The carts improve operational efficiencies and increase staff safety for all curbside collections. Carts are lifted by a mechanical arm on the truck, significantly reducing shoulder injuries that can occur from lifting containers manually.

If you do not already have a cart, you can sign-up at or call 319-356-5151 to obtain one. Customers will not see an additional charge on their bill for this cart, as it is included in the $2 per month fee charged to all customers.

20-35 gallon personal container drop-off event

The City will be hosting an organics container drop-off event on Sunday, June 27, 2021, from noon to 2 p.m. at 1200 South Riverside Drive. Iowa City curbside customers can drop off empty unwanted, personal 20-35 gallon organics (food and yard waste) containers at no cost.

The event will be a drive-through format, with staff and signage available to direct residents on where to drop off their containers.

If residents prefer to get rid of their unwanted personal organics containers at the curb, they can purchase a $2.50 refuse sticker at participating stores (list at, attach it to the container, and place it at the curb next to curbside carts on their regular collection day by 7 a.m. These containers should not be placed inside a curbside cart for disposal.

Note: Containers disposed of in this manner will be landfilled, not recycled. Residents can have containers recycled by dropping containers off at the June 27 event.

Ordering additional carts

Residents will be allowed additional City-provided carts (25- or 95-gallons) at a cost of $2 per month per cart to cover the cost of the cart and service. Additional carts will be delivered based on cart availability. An online request form is available here.

If a customer determines that an additional cart that they had ordered is no longer needed, a pick-up can be scheduled for January of the following year. The monthly cart fee will continue to be charged until that time.

Returning additional carts

Some customers may have received a second cart during our initial delivery efforts. Beginning July 1, 2021, these customers will be charged an additional $2 per month for the second cart. If the additional carts are no longer needed, please contact customer service at 319-356-5151 to schedule a pick-up. This pick-up will be scheduled as soon as possible.

Cart alternatives

Residents may continue to use paper yard waste bags and/or bundle yard waste to the collection specifications; which will be picked up at no additional charge on your regular service day. Residents may also take yard waste to the compost facility at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center at no cost by using Lane #3. Businesses must stop at the scale (Lane #2) and pay the $24/ton fee.

Information about backyard composting is available at

Date of publication

Wednesday, June 09, 2021