Surge in contaminated recycling bins has Des Moines re-educating residents

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DES MOINES, Iowa — Around 130 Des Moines residents have lost their recycling privileges within the last year. Local waste disposal companies say that people may need a refresher on what is able to be recycled.

Cassie Riley, the Community Relations Manager at Metro Waste Facility said that people need to make sure they are thoughtfully placing items in the correct areas.

“It’s very important that the right things end up in your cart at home or at these drop-off locations because all of us are working together to create a sustainable recycling program,” Riley said.

In 2018 the city started checking individual recycling bins more frequently. Awarding people who were recycling well with “super recycler tags” and violators with “oops tags.”

Some residents may be using their recycling bin as an extra trash can, says the City of Des Moines Public Works Director, Jonathan Gano.

Gano wants people to know that the reason for recycling is much more than just to protect the environment, but also to cut costs.

“Aluminum cans are infinitely recyclable, glass is easily recycled into a lot of new products, and that lessens the amount of natural resources that need to be extracted to turn back into products that we buy on the shelves in stores,” said Gano.

Sometimes it may not be clear if a product is recyclable or not, the city of Des Moines will be pushing more education on recycling in the next few months. For now, you can find current guidelines here. 

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