Holiday recycling:  Trees, lights and other materials can be recycled

Early January is a busy time at the landfill and recycling center!  A lot of holiday items can be recycled, although residents need to be diligent about what they put in their recycle bin to ensure that non-recyclable holiday materials that would contaminate the load are not tossed in the bin, too.

CHRISTMAS TREES

The City of Iowa City will offer a Christmas tree recycling program (live trees only) as part of its curbside garbage and recycling service. The trees will be hauled to the Landfill and mulched. Make sure all decorations, ornamentation, and the plastic tree bag you may have used to haul it out of the house are removed from the tree before placing it at the curb.  Dates for the Christmas tree pick-up will be posted here when they are announced. 

WREATHS AND GARLAND

Real evergreen wreaths and garland will also be picked up as part of the Christmas tree recycling program, as long as wires and decorations are removed.

WRAPPING PAPER, CARDS & ENVELOPES
Only some holiday paper products are recyclable. If wrapping paper, holiday cards and envelopes do not contain glitter or other metallic or shiny components, they can be recycled with regular paper. Any metallic or shiny products need to be thrown away (or try reuse them!). Tissue paper can be reused or thrown away, as it is not recyclable. The fibers in tissue paper are too short to be processed.    

BOXES

Gift boxes and shipping boxes can be recycled with cardboard. Be sure to break all boxes down before recycling them. 

PACKING MATERIALS

Newspaper or other shredded paper that has been used as packing material can be recycled. Foam or styrofoam products, such as packing peanuts, cannot be recycled (try to avoid using them!).  Either save them for future use, ask local shipping stores if they’ll take them for use in their business, or throw them away.  Envelopes lined with anything other than paper are no recyclable. 

HOLIDAY LIGHTS

Holiday lights can be recycled at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center or at the East Side Recycling Center with other electronic waste year-round.

Curbside recycling 

A blue recycling container is provided for each single-family residence, and each unit of multiple dwelling of four units or fewer. The container is the property of the City and should remain with your home if you move.

Multi-family residences that are five-plex and larger are not served by Iowa City municipal curbside recycling but recycling services are now required to be provided by apartment owners and managers. Please see www.icgov.org/wasteproposals for more information. 

If you are served by Iowa City curbside recycling and need a replacement container, one can be picked up at the City Hall Cashier, 410 E. Washington Street, during normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Need another bin? Customers may purchase additional recycling bins at the City Hall Cashier for $12 each. Customers may choose to provide their own additional container(s), 24 gallons or less, but if they are lost or damaged the City will not replace them. For any additional questions, contact the Solid Waste Division at 319-356-5151.

Curbside recycling guide

Dropping off recycling

  • East Side Recycling Center, 2401 Scott Boulevard SE (24 hours) 
    Newspaper/magazines/mixed paper/office paper/junk mail/chipboard/telephone books/hard cover and paperback books, corrugated cardboard/cartons and aseptic packaging, glass (clear, brown, green), #1 through #5 and #7 plastics, metal cans, plastic grocery bags and film plastic, holiday lights (at ReStore's donation area), wine corks (in Oil Recycling Shed or at ReStore)
  • Republic Services (formerly City Carton Recycling), 3 East Benton Street (24 hours) 
    Newspaper, white paper, corrugated cardboard, glass (clear, brown, green), #1 through #5 and #7 plastics, metal cans, magazines, chipboard, telephone books, hard cover and paperback books, cartons and aseptic packaging, plastic grocery bags and film plastic, holiday lights (seasonal) 
  • Hy-Vee Food Store, 1201 North Dodge Street (24 hours) *Please note that bins have been moved to the north side of the parking lot at the old Hy-Vee location
    Newspaper/magazines/mixed paper/office paper/junk mail/chipboard/telephone books/hard cover and paperback books, glass (clear, brown, green), #1 through #5 and #7 plastics, metal cans, corrugated cardboard/cartons and aseptic packaging
  • Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Avenue SW (7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday) 
    Newspaper/magazines/mixed paper/office paper/junk mail/chipboard/telephone books/hard cover and paperback books, corrugated cardboard/cartons and aseptic packaging, glass (clear, brown, green), #1 through #5 and #7 plastics, metal cans, holiday lights (with electronic waste)
  • Coralville Recycling Center, 110 E. 7th Street, Coralville [Monday – Friday (7 am to 3 pm), Saturday (8 am to noon)]

    Newspaper, magazines, mixed paper, office paper, junk mail, chipboard, telephone books, corrugated cardboard, #1 through #5 and #7 plastics, metal cans and aluminum foil

Other recycling options

Non-profit organizations and businesses, including apartments and condominiums which do not receive City services, can hire local haulers to provide recycling services at their facilities.  Learn more about apartment recycling at www.icgov.org/recyclepilot.

*NEW* November 2, 2016:  Multi-family housing is now required to recycling services for tenants in order for landlords to renew rental permits.  Please see www.icgov.org/wasteproposals for more information. 

Disposal alternatives

View our composting guide