Des Moines Public Schools has increased its recycling efforts across the school district in the past couple of years. From 2010 to 2011, the district has seen a 48 percent increase in materials recycled.


2009/2010 2010/2011 2011/2012 2012/2013 2013/2014
Jul 7.3 26.77 17.2 27.4 32
Aug 16.5 26.75 26.6 27.4 47.94
Sep 24 25.88 30.7 30.0 36
Oct 19.52 29 33.7 31.75 35.61
Nov 22.7 24.9 27.1 34.7 35.16
Dec 15.73 26.9 28.4 34.7 35.16
Jan 22.71 36.3 28 34.7 35.16
Feb 15.78 27 30.8 34.7 35.16
Mar 25.92 25.8 37.02 34.7 35.16
Apr 22.36 38.2 33.6 35 35.16
May 30.79 41.15 47.2 35
Jun 18.6 46.2 54.80 35
TOTAL 241.91 374.85 395.12 395.05 374.98

The district’s goal is to reduce, reuse and recycle as much material as possible generated in our schools.  We have contracted with Waste Management to provide our solid waste and single stream recycling services. In 2010, the district expanded the recyclable materials collected from cardboard and paper only to multiple streams including fiber, plastic, glass, aluminum and tin.  All of the recyclable resources can easily be collected in one bin. To maximize value from the materials recycled, Metro Waste Authority has negotiated with a processor on our behalf.

Benefits to a District Wide Recycling Program:

  • Valuable resources are not disposed of at the landfill.
  • By increasing our recycling, we reduce the number of waste pick-ups scheduled.
  • Rebates for recyclable materials will be reinvested on the recycling program for supplies.
  • Educating and helping others to preserve the environment for future generations

How to Set Up a Successful Program at Your School:

  • Recruit a volunteer or group to coordinate all recycling activities. The best teams include clubs, classrooms, kitchen staff, custodial staff, teachers and administrators.
  • Review the district’s recycling guidelines.  Post them on or by all recycling containers.
  • Determine how many containers are needed to accommodate the recycling needs. Allow for a recycling container next to every waste container at a minimum.
  • Ask volunteers to bring in boxes or rubber tubs from home to be used for recycling. Local business partners and boosters may be willing to donate also.
  • Determine how many transport containers will be needed. Work with the custodial staff to use current waste containers and develop a schedule for collections.
  • Determine a set time each week when recycling will be collected and who is responsible for collections.
  • Communicate goals, procedures and post District results ongoing in newsletters and in strategic locations throughout the building.

Contact Jane Brannen, Executive Secretary of Operations at, to add your school to a list to receive recycling containers as they become available through the custodial services department.

Contacts for the regional custodian specialists can be accessed by clicking on Custodial to the right of this page.

The following websites contain resources and information about how to engage students to learn about the environment: