CHAMPAIGN – In what city council member Michael La Due described as a "big step for Champaign," at-home recycling pickup became a required service of every residence in the city after the council on Tuesday approved its codification 7-0.
Residents of multifamily homes will begin to see blue recycling carts outside their buildings within the next few weeks after Tuesday night's approval. Private haulers had already been required to pick up recycling at single-family residences.
The new multifamily program will serve about 30,000 residents, and city officials expect it will divert about 2,600 tons of trash from landfills annually.
The new recycling ordinance assigns fees for the program: multifamily property owners will be charged $2.60 per unit monthly for the program, and owners of shared housing – like dormitories, fraternities and sororities – will be charged half that.
The city-operated recycling drop-off center will close some time after the new recycling program begins in December. Council member Deborah Frank Feinen said she has been contacted by constituents worried that they will not be able to recycle everything they want to.
Feinen said she hopes city administrators now can work on broadening the list of recyclable materials that private haulers are required to pick up from single-family homes. As it is right now, that list is not as extensive as what will be picked up from multifamily properties.
"As soon as we wrap up this project, we'll go back to the (council-approved) solid-waste goals ... and that's one of them," administrative services manager Elizabeth Hannan said.
The program has been in development for more than a year, and city administrators had made some changes to the program since the council last visited the issue in September.
"Beginning this program, I think there have been some kinks that we didn't anticipate," council member Karen Foster said.
Among those changes, city officials will now allow some residences to be temporarily excepted from the program under a limited number of circumstances. For example, property owners who already had a recycling contract with a private hauler before the program was implemented will not be required to participate until that contract expires.
City officials would also except offices for which the University of Illinois provides recycling service or properties that have been deemed uninhabitable.
Property owners seeking an exception under one of these circumstances must fill out an application available on the city's website.
The city has also launched a separate website, http://www.feedthething.org, with more information.