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Operation Downtown keeps the city clean with a range of services designed to maintain Downtown Des Moines' (DSM’s) status as one of the fastest-rising communities in the country. Operation Downtown’s team of Ambassadors is committed to serving the Downtown DSM business community, employees, residents and visitors. They work behind the scenes to keep the city clean across 500 square blocks, seven days a week.


When it comes to keeping Downtown DSM clean and green, Operation Downtown Ambassadors go the extra mile. All across Downtown DSM, they manage litter, maintain trash receptacles, power wash sidewalks and remove weeds. They also remove graffiti from buildings and replenish dog disposal stations throughout the district. Keeping Downtown clean, safe, welcoming and vibrant is a top priority for Operation Downtown Ambassadors.

Clean Operation Downtown
Recycle DSM 

The City of Des Moines and Operation Downtown have partnered on a recycling program aimed at creating a cleaner and greener Downtown DSM. A total of 60 recycling receptacles have been placed throughout the Historic East Village, Western Gateway Park, Historic Court District, Downtown Core and around the Iowa Events Center for area workers, visitors and residents to use. The program aligns with the Des Moines City Council’s five-year strategic plan goal of achieving a 100 percent reduction of solid waste by 2050. The Recycle DSM program builds off existing efforts that include cigarette butt recycling through Operation Downtown and recycling at various Downtown DSM events, in addition to efforts by residential property owners to offer recycling options to their residents.

Cigarette Butt Recycling

Cigarette butts are the most littered item across the nation and Downtown DSM is no exception. Operation Downtown works to keep Downtown DSM clean by picking up and sending cigarette butts to be recycled. According to Terracycle, the company that collects the waste for recycling, Operation Downtown is among the most active collectors in this unique recycling program.

Dog Waste Bag Dispensers

Operation Downtown manages the dog waste stations that are strategically located throughout Downtown DSM. These plastic tubes attached to poles are filled with biodegradable bags that dog owners can use to help keep Downtown DSM streets and public areas clean. Demand for this program, which started in 2007 with 50 stations, has increased dramatically as more people and their pets live Downtown, and more people use the recreational trails that connect with the Downtown DSM area. Since the program’s creation, the bag usage Downtown has increased from 4,800 dog waste bags to 170,000 per year.