Food Scrap Recycling

 The City of Dubuque was the first city in Iowa to offer a curbside food scrap recycling program.  The City reminds its curbside collection customers that it offers multiple options for them to "recycle" their food scrap rather than dispose of them with their trash. 

Acceptable Compostable Materials:
Baked goods/grains; cakes, cookies , candy; coffee filters and tea bags; all food-soiled paper cups and paper plates; and, paper towels, placemats, napkins, and bags.

Unacceptable Materials:
Plastic bags, straws, compostable or plastic utensils, lids, wrapping, and containers. Other: diapers, clothing, shoes, treated/painted wood, grease and fats, dead animals, animal waste/litter, cigarette butts, vacuum cleaner bags, hygiene products, medical and hazardous waste.

Still unclear what can be composted?  REThink Waste Dubuque is a free tool that features collection day reminders, collection calendars, and a waste wizard.  Just type in the material you'd disposing of and the app will tell you whether it can be recycled or composted or if it needs to be disposed of in your regular garbage.
Food Scrap

Monthly cost for residential and K-12 school customers during regular and winter collection:

  • Tipper Cart Subscription: 13 gallon - $1
  • Tipper Cart Subscription: 48 gallon - $8 
  • Tipper Cart Subscription: 65 gallon - $11

Monthly cost for commercial customers during regular and winter collection:

  •  Tipper Cart Subscription: 13 gallon - $4
  •  Tipper Cart Subscription: 48 gallon - $15
  •  Tipper Cart Subscription: 65 gallon - $20

To subscribe to one of the collection services listed above, or for additional information, contact the Public Works Department at 563.589.4250 or

How am I to set out my food scraps?

In addition to the tipper cart subscriptions listed above, customers may also put their food scraps and compostable paper in their yard waste carts, cans, and bags. Current yard waste container options are subscribed 64-gallon carts, 35-gallon cans with annual yard waste decals, 35-gallon cans with attached yellow stickers, or paper yard waste bags with attached yellow stickers. This allows many customers to divert their food scraps at little or no additional cost by simply adding them to their current under-filled, underweight yard waste containers.

Additional Suggestions

1) Don't buy more food than you'll use and donate extra, usable food to others in need.

2) Using your garbage disposal is also beneficial management of food scraps. However, avoid putting meat, fat, and grease down your garbage disposal.