According to the Iowa City Landfill and Recyling Center, starting on July 1, residents who put out compostable materials for curbside collection will be required to use 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 began distributing the organics carts in 2018. The yellow-lidded carts come in two sizes: 25 gallons, which can hold up to 50 pounds of compostable material, or 95 gallons, which can hold up to 250 pounds. The 95-gallon cart has approximately the same size footprint as the city’s current 65-gallon trash cart.

The organic material collected in curbside collection programs — including food and yard waste, as well as pizza boxes and uncoated paper plates (but not cigarette butts or pet waste) — is taken to the commercial composting facility at the Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center. “We can take items that are a little bit harder to break down and don’t go into most backyard compost piles, like meat bones and egg shells, because we get our compost pile to a high enough temperature that everything like that breaks down just fine,” Iowa City Recycling Coordinator Jane Wilch told Little Village when the carts first started rolling out. “From start to finish, it’s about a year from when the product comes into the Iowa City Landfill to the final black soil compost is ready.”

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Author: Paul Brennan, Little Village
Image: Celine Robins, Little Village