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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 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.

Partnering Together to Enhance Recycle DSM

Recycle DSM in Western Gateway was aided by the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program, which awarded Operation Downtown a grant in 2016 for recycling bins. 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 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.

Operation Downtown also collects cigarette butts for a special recycling program. 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 waste for recycling, Operation Downtown is among the most active collectors in this unique recycling program.

In addition to the recycling bins, sidewalk art installed throughout the Historic East Village, Western Gateway and Historic Court District 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.”

Thank you to The Iowa Department of Natural Resources Iowa Waste Exchange for their continued partnership with 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