Iowa City is composting Christmas trees and curbside recyclers get the tree collected for free

A Christmas tree, post-holiday, in Iowa City. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

As the holidays, like the rest of 2020, fade into the past, Iowa City residents with curbside recycling have an easy way to dispose of holiday evergreens going brown. Like other organic waste, formerly festive trees can be put at the curb and will be collected on the regular collection day.

The trees will be composted, and curbside pick-up is free. All ornaments, lights and tinsel should be removed, and just like other organic waste, the trees should not be bagged.

Artificial trees, of course, aren’t compostable, but the city will also collect them at the curb. To get rid of an inorganic evergreen, you’ll will need to set up a collection time by calling 319-356-5151. There’s a fee of $12.50 for artificial tree collection.

The city is also offering recycling for holiday lights that are broken, burnt out or otherwise unwanted. Through Jan. 10, those lights can be dropped off at the locations below.

Iowa City:

• Iowa City Landfill and Recycling Center, 3900 Hebl Ave SW
• Eastside Recycling Center, 2401 Scott Blvd SE


• Coralville City Hall, 1512 7th St
• Coralville Recreation Center, 1506 8th St
• Hy-Vee, 1914 8th St
• Stuff Etc., 2818 Commerce Dr

Anyone wanting more information about tree composting or light recycling can contact Iowa City Resource Management Supervisor Jennifer Jordan at 319-887-6160.