Super Recyclers To Earn Golden Lids in Des Moines

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Going green could get you gold. "We are calling it 'Gold Level Recycling.' It takes those people doing a great job recycling and recognizes them by replacing their blue lid with a gold colored lid," said Jonathan Gano, Director of Des Moines Public Works.  To gain access to the exclusive club, residents first must nominate themselves or a neighbor. Gano says an audit of their recycling contents begins over two consecutive pickup dates.  "The solid waste collector steps out of the truck, lifts the lid and looks for things that are supposed to be in there and validates that there are not things that are not supposed to be in there."

Breann Bye lives Des Moines' Riverbend Neighborhood and the program has drawn her attention.  "It's like a gold star you know. A gold lid! I think it's a beneficial program."

Not all responses to the Des Moines Public Works` facebook announcement Monday have  been positive. Chris Cornelisse of Des Moines posted "Look at me. I have a yellow because I recycle properly. I mean come on. I know I'd qualify but I don't need you picking through my recyclables so I can have a yellow lid."  Breann Bye believes it could be very informative. "Digging around in my recycling seems kind of strange but I don`t know if I`m doing it correctly."

Each yellow lid costs $3 and while that does add up, the blue lids cost exactly the same. They believe by creating excitement around recycling the community can save in the long run.  The cost of contamination in our recycling stream costs the recycling program $10,000 a month.  Almost twenty percent of the blue bins is just straight up trash," said Gano.

He's hoping more residents will turn their recyclable trash into treasure.  Gano said, "Every piece we can grab out of the waste stream that would otherwise go to the landfill, delivers value to citizens, the environment and the community at large."

The golden lids do not offer any monetary incentive. Gano says since the announcement, over one hundred people have already scheduled their recycling for an audit.