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Recycle Request Form 

Recycling Links
What day is my recycling picked up?
Recycle Calendar - Yellow/Orange Routes
Recycle Ordinance

Recycling Details

What is my recycling day?
How do I start recycling service?
What time should I put my recyclables out?
All collection carts should be at the curb no later than 7:00 am on collection day or after 5:00 pm the day before. 
Placement and Preparation of the Recycle Cart
  • Put your recyclables inside the cart
  • Close the cart lid.  This prevents the scattering of debris by wind and animals.
  • At curb no later than 7:00 am on garbage day (or) no earlier than 5:00 pm the day before
  • Place at curb on a level surface (no more than 18” from the street or arms length)
  • Cart should be at least 3 feet from all permanent structures. (other collection carts, yard bags or bundles, mailboxes, fences, wall, utility poles and other stationary items on the curb).
  • Metal bar must face the street
  • The lid must be closed.  Do not over fill the cart.
  • DO NOT place cart under low hanging tree branches. 
After recycle collection
  • Remove all collection carts from the collection area curb. 

Missed recycle collection
  • Contact us at 515-283-4950 to report missed garbage collection (or) Recycle Request Form.
  • What you should know before you report a missed collection:
    • Collection carts must be curbside at 7 AM on collection day.
    • Please assure this is the correct week for recycle collection.
    • Missed collections must be reported before 5 pm the day after collection.
    • Collections reported later than 5 PM the following day will be subject to a $25 collection fee (added to your monthly water bill).
    • Recycle carts put out after 7 AM on collection day will be subject to a $25 collection fee. 
What goes in the recycle collection cart?
  • Newspapers (including glossy inserts)
  • Mixed Paper (including junk mail, envelopes with clear plastic inserts, phone books, and glossy magazines)
  • Shredded paper (must be enclosed in a paper sack or box to prevent blow away).
  • Cardboard toilet paper and paper towel rolls
  • Gift bags with handles cut off, paper gift wrap (Does NOT include metallic, foil, mylar or glittery gift wrap)
  • Cardboard (broken down, flattened and cut to fit inside the cart)
  • Plastic Containers (including bottles, yogurt or margarine tubs without lids)
  • Glass Containers (all colors)
  • Tin/Aluminum Cans (no need to remove labels)
  • Paper Food Cartons (milk, including soy, chocolate, and cream, juice boxes, protein drinks, wine, egg substitutes, soup and broth)
  • Wire Clothes Hangers
  • Empty Aerosol Cans   
What DOESN'T go in the recycle collection cart?
  • Garbage
  • Yard Waste 
  • Garden Waste
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Plastic Bags of any sort
  • Plastics: hoses, pipes, wiring, furniture, polystyrene, food storage containers, sour cream, cottage cheese or cool whip containers
  • Styrofoam
  • The following papers: tissues, toilet paper, paper towels, photo paper, photos and carbon paper
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Metals: pots, pans or utensils
  • Paper contaminated with food, coated paper coffee and fast food cups and pizza boxes-(cut off lid and recycle)
  • Hard cover books
  • Metallic, foil, mylar or glittery gift wrap
  • Containers that once held motor oil or antifreeze
  • Berry containers
  • Convenience store cups
  • Tupperware and food storage containers
  • Toys
  • Clothes/Clothing any type
  • Electronics
  • More information can be found at 
What do I do if I'm moving?
  • Leave the cart behind.  The cart is the property of the City of Des Moines and is assigned to the property.   

How do I replace a lost or stolen recycle cart?
  • There is no charge for replacement or additional recycle carts. 
  • To request a Recycle cart you may contact the Department of Public Works, 24-Hour Customer Service Center at 515-283-4950 or you may request a cart online using the Recycling Request Form Recycling Request Form
What if my recycle cart lid or body is broken?
Why Recycle ?
  • Recycling turns materials that would end up in the landfill into reusable items. 
  • Recycling used bottled, cans, and newspapers is the first step to generating a host of financial, environmental, and social returns. 
What are the benefits of recycling?
  • Recycling protects and expands U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases U.S. competitiveness.
  • Recycling reduces the need for land filling and incineration.
  • Recycling prevents pollution caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials.
  • Recycling saves energy.
  • Recycling conserves natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals.
  • Recycling helps sustain the environment for future generations.
Recyclables to be Diverted from Landfill
  • Currently 40% of everything going to the landfill can be recycled.
  • There are things being missed, even by seasoned recyclers.
  • Paper is the largest recyclable material going to the landfill.  This includes sticky notes, receipts, junk mail, etc.
Recycling TIP
Keep a paper grocery bag in the kitchen to catch all the recyclables generated in the kitchen.  When it is full, paper bag and all can go into the blue recycling collection cart!
Gold Level Recycling Program
How to Qualify for the Gold Recycling Program
  • Residents on the Gold Level are SUPER RECYCLERS. 
  • They recycle the correct items into the blue carts.
  • If you or someone you know want to achieve the Gold Level Status, go HERE to register to have a recycling audit.
  • The City of Des Moines Recycling crews will check the contents of your cart on your next recycling day and determine if it qualifies to be on the ‘Gold Level’.
Audit Process
  • City of Des Moines recycling crews will inspect the contents of your recycle cart to determine if the contents are on the recyclables list and free from unacceptable items.
  • List of accepted and unaccepted for your blue recycling cart
  • Once you have exhibited a recycle cart without unacceptable items, your blue lid will be replaced with the Gold Lid on your next recycle day. 

Gold Lids are awarded to Super Recyclers!

Holiday Collection
Please see the holiday schedule for garbage, recycling, and yard waste pickup, which differs from holiday closing for the Department of Public Works.
  • Wrapping paper: If its paper and tears, it is recyclable
  • Cardboard boxes, are recyclable
  • Ribbons, Foil wrap or bows are NOT recyclable
  • Hard plastic 'shells' and Styrofoam are NOT recyclable