Garbage and Recycling

On average, each of us generates over one ton of garbage each year. Most of this garbage is disposed in a Sanitary Landfill. This is where garbage is buried in the ground and may never go away.

Did you know?
Do your part - Recycle
  • Recycling helps reduce the amount of waste that is buried, saving valuable land.
  • Recycling reduces the impact on our natural resources when recyclables are transformed into new products.
  • Mason City residents have collectively recycled an average of 2,837,468 pounds of material each year since 1996.
  • Mason City residents set out approximately 10 pounds of recyclables per person per month.


How much non recyclable refuse are residents allowed to place on the curb for collection?
Residents may set out 1 (one) 33 gallon container, no more than 50 pounds in weight. Any refuse amount beyond the first container must have a landfill disposal sticker placed upon the stem of the bag or on the handle of the container. Stickers cannot be reused and are available from local grocery store retailers at a cost of $1.20 each with a $6.00 minimum purchase.

Who picks up the recyclables?
The City will pick up the recyclables at curbside on the specified collection day of the week.

What day of the week is my sanitation and recycling picked up?

Click here for a map of the information.

Where do residents put the recyclables?
Place the recyclables in the recycling bin provided by the City.

What should a resident do if a recycling bin is lost, damaged or stolen?
Call (641) 421-3691 to arrange for a replacement bin at a cost of $7.00. The first bin is furnished. Residents and tenants who move out of a dwelling should leave the bin for the next owner or occupant.

What if a resident has questions about recycling?
For additional information about recycling call the Sanitation Division at (641) 421-3691.

Do residents have to separate the newspapers, paperboard, corrugated cardboard, cans, bottles and jugs?
Newspapers and paperboard (cereal boxes) are to be bound or placed in paper bags; otherwise everything is placed together in the recycling bin provided. Cardboard should be placed next to the recycling bin. Recycling collectors will sort the recyclables into the truck from the containers at the curb.

What if all the recyclables will not fit in the recycling bin?
More room can be gained by crushing cans and jugs. Do not break glass containers. Bound or bagged newspapers and paperboard may be placed beside or under the recycling bin if the bin is full. DO NOT set newspapers, paperboard or cardboard out on unfavorable days (wet, windy, etc.) - save these items for the next collection day.

Now that the recyclables are in the recycling bin, what next?
Place the recycling bin at the curb by 7:00 a.m. on the specified collection day. A collector will come by to empty the recycling bin and place it back at the curb.

What if a resident puts out recyclables and someone takes them before the City recycling collection arrives?
Anyone who takes a recycling bin or its contents, is committing a crime of theft, punishable by a fine and a jail sentence. Report such crimes to the Police Department Dispatch at (641) 421-3636 as soon as possible.

What are the charges for the curbside recycling program?
A resident pays a base rate of $11.10 per month which covers the weekly collection of recyclables, yard waste and one (1) 33 gallon-50 pound garbage container. All 33 gallon-50 pound garbage containers beyond the first container must have a landfill disposal sticker placed upon the stem of the bag or on the handle of the container. These stickers cannot be reused and are available from local grocery store retailers at a cost of $1.20 each with a $6.00 minimum purchase.

What can I recycle?
Residents may recycle:

*Newspaper with inserts, collapsed paperboard, magazines, catalogs with glossy, glue back or stapled binding. Place these items in paper bags or bundled together with string.

*Corrugated cardboard (should be clean, collapsed, bundled and placed next to the recycling bin and no larger than 2' X 3' X 6" and tied or taped secure on all four sides). Do not mix paper and cardboard.

*Clear glass food and beverage containers. They should be rinsed clean with caps and lids discarded and placed in the recycling bin. DO NOT RECYCLE colored glass, ceramics, Pyrex, clay pots, crystal, light bulbs, drinking glasses, and window or mirror glass.

*Tin and aluminum cans including pop cans, tin soups cans, coffee cans, etc. These items should be rinsed clean with the paper labels removed and placed in the recycling bin. Aerosol cans CAN NOT be recycled.

*Plastic #1 through #7 bottles or jugs with a neck. These items should be rinsed clean with the caps and rings removed and discarded. Collapse the jugs if needed and place in the bin.


What should I do with my used household batteries?

Don’t throw household batteries away - they can be recycled! Mason City residents are asked to recycle old and used household batteries by bringing them to the Fire Department located at 350 5th Street SW in Mason City. There is a large drop box outside the south entrance.


Household batteries being accepted at the Fire Department for recycling include:

*Non lithium AA, AAA, C, D, and 9V batteries

*Watch batteries

*Camera batteries

*Hearing aid batteries


There are types of batteries not being accepted at the Fire Department which residents will need to take to the Landfill of North Iowa. The types of batteries not accepted include:

*Car/vehicle batteries

*Power tool rechargeable batteries

*Any liquid filled batteries

*Any lithium batteries


Residents are asked to contact the Household Hazardous Waste Division at the Landfill of North Iowa at (877-LANDFIL) or (641) 357-5452 to make an appointment to drop off batteries that are not accepted for recycling at the Fire Department.


The Mason City Fire Department is located at 350 5th Street SW. The Landfill of North Iowa is located at 15942 Killdeer Avenue and is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.


For more information or questions, contact the City’s Sanitation Division at (641) 421-3691 or the Landfill of North Iowa at (877) LANDFIL or (641) 357-5452.