Do’s and Don’ts of Dubuque Recycling

One of the first adult-like things college students have to do is start thinking about garbage. Go ahead and laugh, but what did you think when you arrived to Loras College your first year and saw one trash bin and one blue recycling bin in your dorm room? Maybe you didn’t even notice. Maybe you noticed when you didn’t know which bin to use for the nine empty Easy Mac bowls that have been collecting on your desk or the plastic that keeps your Chicken Ramen snug and fresh. Well, no worries — in case you ever get confused on where your trash goes, here is a list of what you should and shouldn’t recycle in this lovely city of Dubuque, Iowa.

DO recycle:

Magazines, clean pizza boxes, pop and beer boxes (for everyone that lives in Smyth of course), tissue roll cores, cereal boxes (we all still eat Captain Crunch, no need to be ashamed), newspapers, catalogs, junk mail, paper bags, white, colored and fax paper, corrugated cardboard (needs to be less than 40 lbs. and less than three feet long if bundled up), shredded paper, both paperback and hardcover books (but don’t throw books away, donate them!), shoe boxes, phone books, paper egg cartons, carbonless forms and envelopes

Household cleaning containers, milk and juice bottles, plastic cups (sometimes those red solo cups pile up if you have friends), cooking oil jugs, bleach and detergent containers, shampoo, lotion, clean plastic flower pots, margarine and ice cream cups (people buy ice cream cups? Just cups?), soap bottles and yogurt cups

Aluminum cans, aluminum foil, empty aerosol cans, pie pans (everyone eats pie), rinsed tin/steel food cans, metal jar lids in flattened cans, pots and pans, stainless steel, copper (not pennies), brass, newly emptied clean latex paint cans and trays

DON’T recycle:

Soiled paper plates, pizza boxes, cups and napkins; photographs, tissue paper, plastic without a recycling symbol, plastic bags, Styrofoam, glass, batteries, silk-coated frozen food boxes, all black or microwave containers, pesticide and chemical containers, feed/seed bags, syringes, needles, knives, plastic with the #6 or #7 symbol, antifreeze and motor oil containers, oil filters and orange pill prescription bottles

There you have it, the dos and don’ts of recycling in Dubuque.

If you ever find yourself wondering what goes where, visit for more info on what you can and can’t recycle in the city of Dubuque. Or, contact the Solid Waste Educator Student Worker, Haley O’Brien, if you ever want to talk trash. Just kidding, but not really. I am here to help!

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