cut out holiday waste graphic

The holidays bring with them many opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle!

Keep these waste reduction tips in mind as you shop and wrap, and when you tear down decorations in the New Year.  

Gifting and Wrapping 

  • Be creative with gift wrapping 

Consider upcycling newspapers, magazines, maps, fabric, and more into gift wrap. Save gift wrap and bags you’ve received, and reuse for your own giving.  

  • Use reusable bags when shopping 

Cut down on clutter by using reusable bags when shopping for gifts and groceries.

  • Shop secondhand 

Whether you’re on the hunt for gifts or garland, check out Iowa City’s secondhand scene. Our Iowa City Area Resale and Consignment Directory can get you started.

  • Gift experiences 

Give gifts that are less about “stuff” and more about experience. For example: a dinner out, or tickets to a game or a show.

  • Know what wrappings you can/cannot recycle

Know what types of packaging are not recyclable. When in doubt throw it out.The following items are not recyclable: metallic or glitter wrapping paper/greeting cards, tissue paper, plastic film and wrap, Styrofoam as well as toys, shoes and clothing.

Cooking and eating 

  • Prepare only what you’ll eat 

Be mindful when creating your traditional feast. Only make food you know you will need.

  • Compost food 

Don’t throw away excess food; compost your food scraps. Learn more about the City’s curbside composting program at

  • Skip paper cutlery 

Use cloth napkins and reusable dishware.


  • Compost your natural Christmas tree!

Curbside pick-up for natural Christmas trees will begin on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019.

  • Recycle holiday lights 

Recycle holiday light strings at these locations (available now-Jan. 21, 2019):

  • Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave.
  • ReStore donation area, 2401 Scott Blvd. SE
  • Iowa City Hy-Vee stores: 1720 Waterfront Dr., 812 S. 1st Ave., 1125 North Dodge St.
  • Coralville Hy-Vee, 1914 8th St.
  • Stuff Etc., 2818 Commerce Dr.
  • Coralville City Hall, 1512 7th St.
  • Coralville Recreation Center, 1506 8th St.

For more information, view the Holiday Recycling Guidelines. Be sure to sign up for curbside service notices at

Questions? Contact Recycling Coordinator Jane Wilch at 319-887-6110 or

Date of publication

Friday, November 30, 2018