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What to Recycle

What Goes In The Blue Recycling Bin                                                                  

Use the guide below to help you recycle.  Remember, you can mix all recyclables together in the same blue bin!

 Page 1 Pocket tri fold


  • Paper – all types, including coffee cups and milk/juice cartons
  • Cardboard – must be flattened, should be mostly clean, includes pizza boxes
  • Plastic – should be mostly clean, no Styrofoam or plastic bags
  • Metal – tin and aluminum

  Not Accepted

  • Glass
  • Food
  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic bags and wrap
  • Wrappers and chip bags
  • Paper towels and tissues

Extensive List of Recyclable Items (LORI)

Recycling Tips

  • Food containers:  Shake it out, get it pretty clean, and recycle it.
  • Beverage conatiners:  Empty liquids, put caps back on, and recycle it.
  • Pizza boxes:  If no grease stains bigger than your hand, empty it out, and recycle it.
  • Coffee cups:  Paper cups can be recycled.  Empty liquids, then recycle it.
  • Boxes and bags:  Empty, break down, and flatten, then recycle.
  • Staples and paper clips:  These can stay on, but paper must be removed from plastic covers or sheets.  Envelopes, even ones with windows, are fine.
  • Plastic bags and bubbles:  These are not recyclable in single-stream.  They can be recycled at Republic Services' (formerly City Carton) drop-off site on Benton and Capital.  At the recycling plant, plastic bags and liners get caught in the automated sorting equipment.
  • Glass:  Glass is not accepted in single-stream bins on the UI campus.  Recycle it at Republic's drop-off site or at City of Iowa City drop off locations.  Glass is hazardous to people hauling and sorting and to the equipment at the single-stream processing plant. 
  • Paper towels, napkins, and tissues cannot be recycled.  Office paper is highly recyclable because its fibers are long.  When paper items are recycled, their fibers get shorter and shorter.  Paper towels, napkins, and tissues have fibers too short to be recycled again.

Where does my recycling go?

Most of the recyclable materials go to Republic's single-stream material recovery facility in Cedar Rapids.

Off Campus                                                                  

Any residence with four or fewer units in Iowa City pays for curbside recycling.  Pick up your curbside bin if you don't have one from City Hall.

On November 1, 2016, City Council passed a resolution that requires all multi-family apartments and condominiums to provide recycling for their tenants.  Landlords, apartment owners/managers and condo associations will have until their next City inspection to comply, so this will mandate will roll out over the next two years.  Please see for more information and updates. 

Drop-off sites

Visit the City of Iowa City recycling page to find more recycling options.

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