When I think of Des Moines, IA, I visualize a charming Midwestern city with special national importance every four years as the home to the Iowa caucuses. I’ve had the chance to visit Des Moines on a number of occasions, and have always been pleasantly surprised at the variety of places to visit and things to do. Curb It Recycle and RollWhat I didn’t know was how vast a recycling program the city has. The Curb It! Recycle and Roll program is an extensive single-stream program that is capable of recycling items that other similar-sized cities do not. Des Moines’ Metro Waste Authority initiated the Curb It! Recycle and Roll residential recycling program in 1994. The organization partnered with two other companies in order to bring a wider-reaching program to the area. Waste Management of Iowa collects the recyclables at the curb and takes them to Greenstar Recycling, where the materials are sorted and then sold for reuse. The program picks up residents’ recycling every other week instead of on a weekly basis. The decision to have fewer collection truck trips down city roads was made to reduce costs and benefit the environment.
  • Money is saved on road repair because of the reduction of wear and tear on roads.
  • Less trips equals less fuel used, which lowers fuel costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Recyclables can be safely stored for several weeks at your home. They don’t cause odor problems or present human health hazards like garbage.
The Curb It! program not only recycles rudimentary materials like newspaper, plastic bottles and metal cans, but it also allows residents to recycle clothes hangers, shredded paper and empty aerosol cans. For a complete list of accepted and unaccepted items, visit mwatoday.com. In addition to having recyclable materials picked up curbside through the Curb It! program, residents of the Metro Waste Authority’s communities can also bring Curb It!-accepted and other recyclables to designated drop-off centers nearby. In my experience, most municipal recycling programs do not include multifamily housing in their curbside pickup programs. If you’re in Des Moines and live in multifamily housing, you have another option, RecycleMe Iowa. RecycleMe Iowa was founded by Ciji Mitrisin when, as an apartment dweller, she became frustrated by the lack of recycling options. RecycleMe Iowa provides doorstep service for a nominal fee to apartment, condo and townhome dwellers. The service provides users with containers for the pickup of paper, plastics, aluminum, cardboard and glass. For more information, visit RecycleMeIowa.com.