Yard Waste & Food Scraps

Residents may set out their yard waste on their regular collection day without making an appointment. Winter yard waste collection requires an appointment.  

Combining Food Scraps with Yard Waste

Customers may also put their food scraps and compostable paper in their yard waste carts, cans, and bags. 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.

Set Out Instructions

  • Place in a brown paper yard waste bag not to exceed 40 pounds with yellow single-use sticker; or 
  • 35-gallon rigid solid waste containers with either single-use yard waste stickers looped on the handles or the City’s 2022 annual yard waste decal displayed; or
  • City-issued 65 gallon yard waste tipper cart

Yard waste in plastic bags will not be collected. Brush and limbs may also be bundled with City of Dubuque brush ties that have a single-use sticker attached. Limbs should be no more than 3" in diameter and 5' in length.

Yard Waste Food Scraps Curbside

Yard Waste & Food Scrap Fees

Yard Waste

65-gallon City-issued cart$11/monthCall Public Works to subscribe
Annual decal$35Call 563-589-4144, purchase in person at City Hall, or submit an online request
Single-use yellow stickers for cans, bags, or bundles$1.30 each (sold in sheets of five for $6.50)Sold at most discount and hardware stores in Dubuque

Food Scraps

Call Public Works to subscribe
13-gallon tipper cart (residential)$1/month
13-gallon tipper cart (commercial)$4/month
64-gallon tipper cart (commercial)$20/month

Acceptable Yard Waste Items

  • Bark
  • Brush
  • Fallen fruit and nuts
  • Flowers and potted plants (no pots)
  • Food scraps (see below)
  • Garden plants and culls
  • Grass clippings
  • Leaves
  • Pinecones and pine needles
  • Pumpkins
  • Real Christmas trees (Merry Mulch)
  • Sod
  • Straw bales and corn stalks
  • Tree trimmings

Acceptable Food Scrap Items

  • All food except meat and dairy
  • Coffee filters & tea bags
  • Food soiled paper cups and paper plates
  • Napkins and paper towels
  • Paper bags
  • Paper placemats

Unacceptable Food Scrap Items

  • Animal waste or dead animals
  • Compostable or plastic utensils
  • Containers and lids
  • Fats and greases
  • Hygiene products
  • Litter
  • Medical waste
  • Plastic bags
  • Straws
  • Treated or painted wood

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

Leaf Rake-Out Appointments 

The City offers leaf rake-out collections by appointment through approximately Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, weather depending. Appointments must be made before raking into a gutter area. Acceptable items in the leaf rake-out include loose leaves, pine needles, and pine cones. Grass, brush, plants, and rocks are not accepted.


  • Schedule an appointment before raking leaves into the street.
  • Leaf piles should be placed in the street at the curb no sooner than the day before the scheduled appointment. 
  • Crews cannot enter private property or alleys to collect a leaf rake-out.
  • Vehicles must not be parked on the street within 10 feet of the leaf pile. 
  • Utilities such as fire hydrants, utility boxes, or storm sewer catch basins should not be covered. 
  • A $20 charge is added to the utility bill for an equivalent of 40 leaf bags. 

Schedule an appointment for a leaf rake-out online or call 563-589-4250.

Merry Mulch Program

Merry Mulch takes place during the winter months. Christmas trees (maximum of eight feet high), yard waste bags, bundles and containers (up to 35 gallons), as well as Green Carts with food scraps will be picked up on regular collection days for two weeks. The tree must have either one City brush tie or one yellow yard waste sticker attached and visible from the street or alley.  No collection appointment is necessary.