Axios Des Moines

Picture of the Des Moines skyline with DSM written across it.
April 09, 2021

Heck yeah, welcome to Friday, friends. Glad to see you.

  • ☁️ The high today is 61 with a small chance of rain. Whew — we're done with the stuff.

Today's Smart Brevity count is 927 words, a 3.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Iowa is a top recycler

A photo of bottles.
Iowa has a 44% recycling rate for common containers and packaging materials, excluding cardboard and boxboard. Photo: Epics/Getty Images

Iowa is the 10th best state for recycling, according to a new report funded by the Ball Corporation.

Why it matters: We’re making progress towards long-time waste management and environmental goals.

Details: All but six states have recycling rates below 50%.

  • Iowa has a 44% recycling rate for common containers and packaging materials, excluding cardboard and boxboard.

The big picture: About 25% of U.S. waste is actually recycled, the study shows.

  • "Just because it's recyclable doesn't mean it's recycled," Ball Corp. CEO John Hayes told Axios’ John Frank.

Metro Waste Authority has a 10% contamination rate, less than half of the national average, deputy director Leslie Irlbeck told Jason.

  • "It’s generally due to 'wishful recycling.' People want to divert things like plastic children’s toys. We want those things to be recyclable but they’re not," Irlbeck said.

What's next: MWA will open a new $24 million material recovery facility in November.

  • With new machines that'll be able to better process materials like thin plastics, the Grimes facility is expected to help boost the efficiency of the Curb It! program, which collects more than 20,000 tons of materials each year.

Of note: MWA manages recycling collections for all of our suburbs but DSM manages its own program. 

  • DSM might use the new Grimes facility but an agreement with the MWA has not yet been reached, Public Works director Jonathan Gano told Jason yesterday.
A photo of ongoing construction at MWA's material recovery center in Grimes.
Ongoing construction at MWA's material recovery center in Grimes. Photo courtesy of MWA

Bonus: What you can and can't recycle

Illustration of melted recycling bin
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

⛔ Don’t recycle these:

  • Plastic bags
  • Food storage containers (This includes those used for sour cream, cottage cheese, Cool Whip, berries and convenience store cups.)
  • Motor oil or antifreeze containers
  • Pizza boxes and other fast-food containers
  • Photos
  • Bubble wrap
  • Toys or electronics
  • Pipes (neither PVC nor metal)
  • Disposable dishes (This includes those plastic picnic cups)
  • Coffee cups, including those disposable ones from Starbucks

👍 Do recycle these:

  • Aluminum and tin cans
  • Books
  • Cardboard
  • Paper, magazine and mail
  • Plastic (Including beverage, detergent and milk containers; yogurt and margin tubs, but discard the lids)
  • Glass (all colors of beverage and food containers)

🚔 Confession: Jason discovered while reporting this story that he’s a frequent recycling violator. (He’s gonna work on that.)

  • Read MWA’s full checklist, here.
  • DSM’s list is here.

2. Dinner with Gov. Kim Reynolds

A photo of a $21,000 bid for dinner with Gov. Kim Reynolds.
A screenshot of the auction item dinner with Gov. Kim Reynolds.

If you’ve got an extra $21,100 or so, you can snag a dinner for yourself and seven of your pals with the governor and first gentleman Kevin Reynolds at Terrace Hill.

That was the going bid for the True-Blue Gala fundraiser for the Des Moines Christian Schools as of early this morning. (See item #200)

  • The money goes to "immediate resources to impact student life including enhancement of academic and co-curricular programs."

Bidding ends at a virtual gala on Saturday at 7pm.

3. Iowa bridges rank among worst in U.S.

Chart: Axios visuals; numbers via NBI, data compiled by ARTBA
Chart: Axios visuals; numbers via NBI, data compiled by ARTBA

We're among the worst in the nation for our percentage of bridges that are in poor condition, according to a 2021 report by The American Road & Transportation Builders Association.

Why it matters: Deteriorating bridge conditions can hamper travel or result in load restrictions. Dangerous bridges have to shut down altogether.

By the numbers: Out of 23,982 bridges in the state, 19% are in poor or worse condition, according to federal inspection reports.

  • When it comes to overall number of bridges in poor condition, we rank #1 in the nation, with 4,571 needing repair or replacement. (But keep in mind — Iowa has a lot of bridges.)

What they're saying: We have a "tremendous" number of small bridges in rural areas that are classified as poor, said Andrea Henry, spokesperson for the Iowa DOT.

  • Due to funding constraints, Henry said the Iowa DOT prioritizes its bridge repairs based on maintaining optimal mobility in the state.

In Polk County, the most traveled structurally deficient bridge is 2nd Avenue over Birdland Drive, according to ARTBA.

State of play: President Biden has proposed a $2 trillion+ infrastructure plan that includes $155 billion for repairing roads and bridges.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has vowed to fight against it "every step of the way."

4. The ear: What we're butterin' up today

Illustration of a pair of headphones with plastic corn cob holders sticking out of them.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios
  • Iowa rejected a federal request to house migrant children because of a lack of facilities, Gov. Kim Reynolds said in an interview with radio host Jeff Angelo. (WHO-Radio)
  • Iowa State Patrol arrested an Iowa teen during a Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday. This video tweeted by KCCI's Tisia Muzinga shows the moment during an otherwise peaceful protest, journalists present say.
  • A large solar farm is planned on a seven-acre remediated brownfield track of city-owned land in Perry. (Radio Iowa)

5. Hot DSM homes starting at $230k

A Beaverdale home up for sale.
A Beaverdale home up for sale at 2614 30th St., in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Mariah Klemp

Despite historically low inventory, home sales in Des Moines are still skyrocketing.

February snapshot: Sales increased 10.4% in comparison to 2020 in the Des Moines metro — and prices rose 16.6%, according to stats by DMAAR.

Here's what's out there:

2614 30th St., Des Moines — $230,000

Why we love it: This cottage-style home makes a statement as soon as you see it. The original lion head door knocker is a one-of-a-kind piece and there's loads of old-school charm throughout the house.

Neighborhood: Beaverdale

Realtor: Mariah Klemp at RE/MAX Concepts

Specs: three bed, one bath, 1,605 square-feet

Notable features: A two-car garage and a partially finished lower-level that can serve as an extra hangout space.

See more

6. 🐶 Dog-friendly patios in Des Moines

A patio at Confluence brewery in Des Moines.
Confluence Brewing Company in Des Moines. Photo courtesy of Confluence

We're gonna reach peak patio season here soon, and you know we don't get many days like that in Des Moines.

  • But if you can't stand leaving your furry friend at home, don't worry — we've got options.

Ankeny: Cabaret; Firetrucker Brewery, Mistress Brewing

Clive: 515 Brewing

Des Moines:

Waukee: Global Brew; Kinship

West Des Moines: Bar Louie; Beerstyle's; Smash Park; Sully's; The Longest Yard; Twisted Vine Brewery

7. Pic du jour: "You're priceless"

A broken light post saying, "You're priceless in a world full of price tags."
A broken light post along the John Pat Dorrian Trail by the Botanical Garden. Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Linh was walking by the Botanical Garden and found some words of inspiration on a light post:

  • "You're priceless in a world full of price tags." — #MadSoulPoetry

The Fletcher in Ankeny announced it's reopening in June through a partnership with George Formaro and Orchestrate.

  • Our restaurant reopening dream — Macaroni Grill in WDM, admittedly.

Have a good weekend and stay dry!