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Operation Downtown and the City of Des Moines have established a public space recycling program aimed at creating a cleaner and greener Downtown Des Moines (DSM). Recycle DSM aligns with the City of Des Moines’ comprehensive plan, PlanDSM, which calls for the reduction of solid waste going to the landfill.


In October of 2016, Recycle DSM was started as a pilot program with eight receptacles in the Historic East Village. After a striking initial success, the program expanded to a 60+ receptacle program with presence in the Historic East Village, Western Gateway, Historic Court District, Downtown Core and the Iowa Events Center.

Recycle DSM  

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. 

Recycle DSM is provided by:
Operation DowntownCity of Des Moines Department of Public Works