Frequently asked questions about the landfill’s corrugated cardboard ban

Beginning Jan. 2, 2018, the Iowa City Landfill will ban corrugated cardboard. This will affect the landfill’s entire service area, including North Liberty customers. Customers can help us comply by recycling cardboard instead of throwing it away. This will save them money in the short term (since recycling is a fixed rate while trash is costs are based on volume) and long term (since the added costs at the landfill will ultimately be passed along to customers).

Q:  Why is the City of Iowa City and the Iowa City Landfill banning cardboard in the landfill?

A:  According to the 2017 waste characterization study, about 3.2 percent of what goes into the Iowa City Landfill is cardboard—that’s about 4,000 tons per year. While this is down drastically from the 2011 waste sort, that still a lot of valuable material taking up valuable space—a double waste! The City is also working towards greenhouse gas reduction goals as part of a larger Climate Action Plan and keeping cardboard out of the landfill can get the City closer to its goals.

Q:  When does enforcement start?

A:  Enforcement begins Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2018. Beginning early in December, landfill staff will give warnings to drivers with discernible amounts of cardboard in their load so the hauler can talk to their customers about the required changes.

Q:  How will they enforce the ban?

A:  Much like other communities with cardboard bans in place, we’ll have a plan in place at the landfill. Spotters will be checking incoming loads and loads with any discernible amount of cardboard will be charged twice the regular tipping fee.

Q:  How will the landfill educate its customers about this?

A:  Per the Iowa City City Council’s unanimous vote in June 2017, the ban will go into effect in January 2018 and affects the entire landfill service area, which includes North Liberty,  the rest of Johnson County and the cities of Kalona and Riverside. The ban will be announced through various channels, including direct outreach, social media, news releases and public events. Businesses will have some work to do; Iowa City Landfill staff reach out to them through their haulers.

Q:  What opportunities exist for recycling cardboard in North Liberty?

A:  Many residents in Johnson County, including North Liberty, have recycling where they live. Many businesses already have cardboard recycling. Residents and businesses also have access to five drop-off recycling; please see www.icgov.org/recycle  for a full list of recycling locations.  Iowa City’s East Side Recycling Center has a cardboard compactor that can handle large volumes of cardboard.  Iowa City will also be purchasing a cardboard compactor for the recycling drop-off site at the landfill.