How to dispose of Christmas trees, lights and other holiday waste in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City

Curbside pickup available in most cases

A small pile of Christmas trees sits in the Sac and Fox Trail parking lot at Bertram Road and Wilder Drive SE in Cedar R
A small pile of Christmas trees sits in the Sac and Fox Trail parking lot at Bertram Road and Wilder Drive SE in Cedar Rapids at the end of December 2017. The Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation department has established two locations for the collection of real Christmas trees and wreaths. Trees at the Sac and Fox parking lot will be chipped and used by Indian Creek Nature Center on nature trails while trees left at Prairie Park Fishery, 2125 Otis Road SE will be set on the ice to become habitat for fish once the ice melts in the spring. (The Gazette)

When it’s time to pack up the tinsel, trimmings and trappings of Christmas, keep in mind these options for making the season green.

Cedar Rapids

Curbside Christmas tree disposal begins Dec. 26 and continues through mid-January for live, unflocked, undecorated trees. Be sure to strip off all the shiny baubles, including ornaments, wires, other decorations and the stand, and do not put the tree in a plastic bag. Cut trees into even halves or thirds, no longer than 6 feet each, and no larger than 2 feet in diameter.

Place the pieces in your Yardy cart, making sure the lid will close, or set the pieces 3 feet from your carts on your regular garbage collection day. If (and when) we get snow, don’t toss them on the snowbank. Set them at street level.

Haul your live, unflocked, undecorated trees to the Sac and Fox Trail parking lot, Bertram Road and Wilder Drive SE, or the Prairie Park Fishery, 2125 Otis Road SE. Sites are open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Trees taken to the Sac and Fox site will be chipped and added to Indian Creek Nature Center trails. Those left at the fishery will sink into the water to become fish habitat.

Flocked trees (these are trees with that are sprayed with synthetic dust or powder to look like snow) will be carted away with your garbage. Cut these trees into 3-foot sections and attach a $1.50 garbage sticker to each section. Stickers are available in stores throughout the city. Go to the city website for a list.

Artificial trees can’t be recycled and should be set out in 3-foot sections, with a garbage sticker attached to each section. For trees that can’t be separated, call the Solid Waste and Recycling Office at (319) 286-5897 to request pickup, and it will be collected at the bulky item fee of $5, added to your municipal utility bill.

Cardboard tree boxes should be placed in your Curby recycling bin or taken to the Resource Recovery building at the Solid Waste Agency’s Marion facility, 1954 County Home Road.

Holiday lights can’t be recycled curbside but can be recycled free of charge at the Solid Waste Agency’s Marion facility.


Wrapping paper is considered garbage, even if it’s labeled “recyclable.”

Electronics: If it’s time to go out with the old to make way for the new, TVs and monitors can be recycled at the Solid Waste Agency’s Marion facility at $15 each. Other items, including DVD players, VCRs and stereos, can be recycled there free of charge for residential-sized loads; commercial and bulk loads will be assessed 25 cents per pound.

For more information, visit the Solid Waste Agency’s website at or the City of Cedar Rapids website at


Live Christmas trees can be placed curbside beginning Dec. 26, to be composted free of charge. Be sure to remove all decorations, lights and stands, and don’t place the tree in a plastic bag.

Artificial trees can be picked up for a fee by calling the city at (319) 356-5151.

Holiday lights can be dropped off in the blue bins at Iowa City and Coralville Hy-Vee stores and other sites until Jan. 13, or year-round at the East Side Recycling Center and the Iowa City Landfill. See details at

Comments: (319) 368-8508;

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