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DSM Fellows Capstone Panel: Environmental Awareness

Metro Waste Authority

During a recent DSM Fellows Capstone event, panelist Sarah Borzo, Metro Waste Authority, touched on environmental awareness and sustainability through a discussion on recycling in and around the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region.

Going Green

Metro Waste Authority oversees contracts between cities and garbage, yard waste and recycling haulers. The business works to educate member communities about waste management and runs two landfills, two transfer stations, hazardous waste drop-off locations, an Environmental Learning Center and grounds and the Metro Recycling Facility (MRF) in Grimes, Iowa.

Get to know the MRF facility by watching this video:


At MRF, recycling items are tipped, sorted and sold to a manufacturer who can turn recycling material into something new. Guidelines for recycling in the Greater DSM region include acceptance of:


  • Aside from paper with glitter or foil or paper that is shredded and not in a paper bag)


  • Did you know that Iowa is third in the nation for per capita recycling of cardboard in the nation!

Aluminum + Tin

  • Items should be rinsed before being put in the cart.


  • Only 30% of glass items are recyclable when you recycle through mixed recycling. If you take glass to the grocery store or a dedicated glass redemption site, 90-95% of the glass is recyclable.


  • If it has a twist-off top and you can put it on or inside your body, it’s recyclable. Yogurt containers without the lids can be recycled as well.

DSM Drop-Off Areas

Drop-off locations across the region include three different locations:

  • Cardboard Only
  • Drop-off Glass Only Drop-off
  • Mixed Recycling Drop-off


Plastic bags should not be mixed in with recycling. Contamination, like plastic bags, is challenging to remove from the recycling/sorting line. On average, workers have 1.7 seconds to remove materials before it moves down the recycling belt. If employees are trying to grab more than one item, it becomes difficult to keep up, which is why more than one person on the line is needed.

Recycling is just one piece of sustainable living. Remember also to reduce, reuse and rethink your choices for the spaces you inhabit. Find out more about recycling at whereitshouldgo.com.

Watch the entire webinar below:


Looking for opportunities as a young professional in Greater Des Moines (DSM)? The DSM Fellowship program is the preeminent professional development initiative attracting, developing and retaining a diverse community of top-tier graduates to the region. You can also connect with other young professionals and emerging leaders through Young Professionals Connection (YPC) events and committees.

Greater Des Moines Partnership

The Greater Des Moines Partnership is the economic and community development organization that serves Greater Des Moines (DSM), Iowa. Together with 23 Affiliate Chambers of Commerce, more than 6,500 Regional Business Members and more than 400 Investors, The Partnership drives economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region. Through innovation, strategic planning and global collaboration, The Partnership grows opportunity, helps create jobs and promotes DSM as the best place to build a business, a career and a future. Learn more at DSMpartnership.com.