items that can be recycled such as plastic bottles and cardboard

Iowa City accepts a variety of materials through its recycling programs and collects items through community drop-off locations and curbside pickup.

Recycling programs provided by the City of Iowa City/Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center are available to residents and businesses within Johnson County, Kalona, and Riverside. Materials from outside of this service area are not accepted. 

On this web page, learn more about Iowa City's curbside recycling, drop-off recycling locations, and other recycling opportunities in our community. 


Glass Recycling

Three additional glass drop-off locations have been established for our service area (residents of Johnson County, Kalona, Riverside) to recycle glass at no cost.

The new locations will be for glass only (except for Coralville Drop-off Recycling Center); there will not be recycling options for plastic, metal, paper, or cardboard. As a reminder, the glass drop-off bins have been recently painted purple.

New glass recycling locations 

Note: The Upper City Park and Robert A. Lee Recreation Center locations have glass recycling only; there are not recycling options for plastic, metal, paper, or cardboard

  • Upper City Park (200 Park Rd, Iowa City) 
    • Enter at Park Road, across from N. Riverside Drive 
    • Purple glass recycling bin is located in NW corner of parking lot 
  • Robert A. Lee Recreation Center parking lot (220 S. Gilbert St., Iowa City)
    • Enter on Burlington Street 
    • Purple glass recycling bin is located in the parking lot 
  • Coralville Drop-off Recycling Center (950 Hughes St., Coralville)
Other glass recycling locations

These locations have recycling for glass, along with plastic, metal, paper, and cardboard. More information on these drop-off locations is below

  • East Side Recycling Center (2401 Scott Blvd. SE, Iowa City) 
  • South Riverside Recycling Center (1200 South Riverside Dr., Iowa City) 
  • Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center (3900 Hebl Ave. SW, Iowa City) 
What glass can be recycled? 

All colors of glass bottles and jars (such as clear, blue, green, and brown) can be recycled mixed together.

accepted items for glass recycling

Here are some glass recycling tips:

  • Rinse food/beverage glass before recycling! 
  • Labels can stay on bottles and jars. 
  • Lids are fine to stay on bottles and jars, too.If you prefer to remove them, here’s what to do with those caps/lids:
    • Plastic ones are trash. 
    • Metal ones can be recycled. 
    • Corks:
      • Natural corks can be recycled via the wine cork container at East Side Recycling Center (located in the Oil Shed).
      • Plastic/foam corks are trash. 

These items are not allowed in glass recycling:

  • Cardboard/paper drink carriers 
  • Plastic bags 
  • Window/pane glass 
  • Laminated glass/windshields 
  • Porcelain, ceramic, China/leaded glass, milk glass 
  • Pyrex, Corningware, dishware 
  • Mirrors 
  • Light bulbs 

A friendly reminder that programs require maintenance! If you arrive at one of the locations listed above and you don’t see the purple bin, it may be in route to be emptied, but don’t worry, it will be right back.

Why is this important?

This program expansion is in response to the community identifying a need for easier, more accessible glass recycling options. Glass is not allowed in curbside recycling, as it lessens the quality of glass when added to a single stream recycling mix, making the glass difficult to recycle. By keeping glass separate, we ensure that we have a clean, high-quality product that is easy to recycle. Glass is 100% recyclable forever, which is why we don’t want this valuable material ending up in a landfill.

Questions? Contact the Recycling Coordinator, Jane Wilch, at 319-887-6110 or jane-wilch@iowa-city.org, or visit www.icgov.org/recycle.


Cardboard Recycling

Cardboard is not allowed to be thrown in the trash and must be recycled. This landfill ban on cardboard is meant to keep a usable, valuable material out of the landfill which saves natural resources and landfill space. 

Another reason we do not want cardboard thrown away is related to greenhouse gas emissions. When cardboard or any other organic materials are landfilled, it produces a very powerful greenhouse gas known as methane. Recycling cardboard reduces our local greenhouse gas emissions!

For these reasons, the Iowa City Landfill enacted a landfill ban on cardboard a few years ago. There are plenty of ways to recycle cardboard in the Iowa City area:

  • Curbside Recycling: If you have access to a curbside recycling program where you live, you can recycle cardboard via that program. In Iowa City, curbside customers can recycle flattened cardboard with pieces sized to a max of 2 x 2 feet. Scroll below for more information on curbside recycling. 
  • Apartment Recycling: All apartment buildings in Iowa City are now required to offer on-site recycling to tenants. If you live in an apartment building, you can recycle cardboard via the on-site recycling program.
  • Drop-off Locations: If you do not have recycling where you live or have large amounts of cardboard, you can recycle at any of the recycling drop-off locations. Scroll below for more information on drop-off location recycling. 

Residential Curbside Recycling 

Curbside Recycling Guide (Text-only Version

Curbside recycling is available to Iowa City residents living in single-family homes up to 4-unit apartment buildings ($6/month on utility bill). Multi-family residences that are five-unit and larger are not served by curbside collection, but recycling services are now required to be provided. Visit the Apartment Recycling page for more information. 

To find out which weekday your address receives curbside collection, view the map. 

Curbside recycling is single stream in Iowa City, meaning residents do not need to sort materials. All accepted materials can be placed in the same container. The City of Iowa City provides 65-gallon, blue-lidded recycling carts to curbside customers. Visit the Organics page to learn about organics carts for food and yard waste. 

What materials can you recycle at the curb? 

View the Curbside Recycling Guide (text-only version) for a full list of accepted materials in Iowa City curbside recycling. View the Plastics Guide (text-only version) for information specific to plastics.  

items that should not be placed in a recycling bin

Curbside Customer Best Practices

Follow these guidelines to ensure successful and safe curbside collection. 

  • Place carts on a solid surface for pickup, such as the end of your driveway, or when snow is present, a cleared area of flat ground. Do not place carts on top of snowbanks. 
  • Do not overfill carts. City ordinance states the lids must be closed.
  • Keep all recycling materials loose.
  • Place carts at the curb by 7 a.m. on your curbside day.
  • Keep at least a 3-feet clear zone around each cart.
  • Face the arrows on cart lids to the street.
  • Return carts to your storage area at end of curbside day.
  • Do not paint/write on carts.
  • Do not remove the carts from home.
  • Put carts at the curb only when full. 

Drop-off Recycling Locations 

Below is a list of the recycling drop-off sites in Iowa City and Coralville. Learn more about recycling glass in Iowa City in this video.

Not Accepted in Drop-off Location Recycling

  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as face masks and gloves 
  • Plastic bags or wrap 
  • Styrofoam
  • Clamshell plastic containers
  • Yard or food waste (compost it)
  • Motor oil or fertilizer bottles
  • Photographs
  • Metallic or glitter-coated paper
  • Gift wrapping paper
  • Napkins, paper cups, paper plates 

East Side Recycling Center  

2401 Scott Blvd. SE, 24/7 (except electronic/small appliance and light bulb recycling)

Accepted Materials: 
  • Cardboard: please flatten
  • Paper: newspapers, magazines, shredded paper, office paper, junk mail, paperboard, paperback books, waxy cartons, and aseptic packaging
  • Glass: clear, brown, green
  • Plastics: bottles and jugs (View Plastics Guide; text-only version)
  • Metal: metal cans, aluminum pie pans, aluminum foil (in 2-inch ball)
  • Wine Corks: place corks in the cork recycling bin in Oil Recycling Shed
  • Vegetable Oil: leave sealed and labeled plastic bottle of used vegetable oil in Oil Recycling Shed
  • Motor Oil: leave sealed and labeled plastic bottle of used motor oil in Oil Recycling Shed
  • Electronics and Small Appliances: recycle at ReStore's donation area during open hours
  • Holiday Light Strands: recycle at ReStore's donation area during open hours
  • Light Bulbs: recycle CFLs and LEDs at ReStore during open hours

South Riverside Recycling Center

1200 South Riverside Drive, 24/7

Accepted Materials: 
  • Cardboard: please flatten
  • Paper: newspapers, magazines, shredded paper, office paper, junk mail, paperboard, paperback books, waxy cartons, and aseptic packaging
  • Glass: clear, brown, green
  • Plastics: bottles and jugs (View Plastics Guide; text-only version)
  • Metal: metal cans, aluminum pie pans, aluminum foil (in 2-inch ball)

Donate redeemable metal cans and plastic bottles to the Rotary Club of Iowa City A.M.'s Can-Do Project via the white trailer on site. Money raised helps support several local human, social, and environmental service non-profit organizations. 

Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center

3900 Hebl Avenue SW, Open 7 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday - Saturday

Accepted Materials: 
  • Cardboard: please flatten
  • Paper: newspapers, magazines, shredded paper, office paper, junk mail, paperboard, paperback books, waxy cartons, and aseptic packaging
  • Glass: clear, brown, green
  • Plastics: bottles and jugs (View Plastics Guide; text-only version)
  • Metal Cans, Foil, Pie Pans: metal cans, aluminum pie pans, aluminum foil (in 2-inch ball)
  • Scrap Metal: iron, steel, aluminum, brass, copper
  • Vegetable Oil: leave sealed and labeled plastic bottle of used vegetable oil in Oil Recycling Shed
  • Motor Oil: leave sealed and labeled plastic bottle of used motor oil in Oil Recycling Shed
  • Electronics: televisions, computers, cell phones, etc.
  • Holiday Light Strands: recycle via electronics recycling 
  • Small and Large Appliances: toasters, coffee makers, refrigerators, microwaves, etc.
  • Light Bulbs: CFLs, LEDs
  • Propane and Helium Tanks: recycle through appliance recycling
  • Tires
  • Roof Shingles: clean loads can be recycled for $30/ton  
  • Yard and Food Waste (via Compost Facility)
  • Hardcover Books (bin located in electronics recycling area)

Do you have construction and demolition waste? View the Construction and Demolition Waste Guide for information on disposal options. 

Coralville Recycling Center

950 Hughes Street, 24/7

Accepted Materials: 
  • Paper and Cardboard: newspapers, magazines, mixed paper, office paper, junk mail, paperboard, paperback books, corrugated cardboard
  • Plastics: bottles and jugs
  • Metal: metal cans, aluminum pie pans, aluminum foil (in 1-inch ball)

Visit the City of Coralville website for more information.


    Apartment and Business Recycling

    Apartments, condominiums, non-profit organizations, and businesses that do not receive City curbside services can provide recycling services at their facilities through local haulers.

    For more information on apartment recycling, visit the Apartment Recycling page. 


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