A- A+


Operation Downtown and the City of Des Moines have established a 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 spectacular initial success, the program expanded to a 50-receptacle program in six months, with 20 recycling receptacles in the Historic East Village and 30 in Western Gateway Park. Soon after, six more receptacles were added around the Iowa Events Center. During the pilot, a total of 87 percent of the material collected in the recycling receptacles in Historic East Village was recyclable!

Partnering Together to Enhance Recycle DSM

The expansion was aided by the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program, which awarded Operation Downtown a grant in 2016 to add recycling bins to the city. Through the grant program, Keep America Beautiful and the Coca-Cola Company work together to address one of the primary barriers to recycling in public spaces by making access to recycling bins more readily available and convenient. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Iowa Waste Exchange is also a proud partner of the program. Read the Recycle DSM Flyer for more information.

Recycle DSM builds off of existing efforts that include cigarette butt recycling through Operation Downtown and recycling at various Downtown DSM events, in addition to efforts by residential and commercial property owners to offer recycling options to their residents and employees. By working together, these organizations make Downtown DSM a cleaner and greener place to work, live and visit. Learn more about how to contribute to recycling efforts in DSM.

In addition to the recycling bins, sidewalk art installed throughout the Historic East Village and Western Gateway encourages residents and Downtown DSM workers and visitors to recycle. The art includes phrases such as “Eat. Drink. Recycle.” and “The future is in your hands — Recycle DSM.”

Operation Downtown Recycling Chalk Art


Thank you to Scenic Route Bakery and Raygun for their contribution to sidewalk art in the Historic East Village.

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

Thank you to these partners:
Keep America BeautifulCoca-ColaCoca-Cola Atlantic Bottling CompanyCoca-Cola Recycling