Champaign to discuss expanding recycling

CHAMPAIGN — The city could move toward expanding its curbside recycling program under options that administrators will present this week.

Officials say a mandated curbside recycling program would reduce the volume of garbage that ends up in the landfill, but it also would mean an extra fee for homeowners.

The council will discuss options for the program when it meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Champaign City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

Officials believe that, within five years, they would be able to encourage residents in roughly 20,000 households to recycle at a rate of 640 pounds per year. Those 20,000 households are the residences left uncovered by the city's multifamily recycling program, which started at the end of 2010.

The multifamily recycling program provides pickup for residences with more than four units. Under current regulations, the rest of the city is given an option: Private waste haulers are required to provide recycling service for no extra fee if a resident wants to participate.

As the council discussed the multifamily program in 2010, the debate attracted push-back from apartment owners, who scoffed at the prospect of being charged a monthly fee of $2.60 per unit for the program.

Owners of smaller properties, for which mandated curbside recycling is now being considered, would be forced to pay a fee, too.

City officials expect the fee could range anywhere from $1.50 to $4 per month, depending on how aggressively city council members wish to pursue the curbside recycling program.

According to a city memo, administrators surveyed 250 residents who would be eligible to participate in the program being considered now. Of the participants, 79 percent said they already recycle "at least some of the time, if not regularly."

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mankind wrote on January 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

So let me get this straight. Right now as one of these 20,000 households I supposedly don't pay anything for my recycling pickup, even though my trash company has increased rates twice in the past year due to "the increased cost of doing business." And now I'm going to be required to pay an additional $4 a month as the city expands this phantom "program" to my house, even though it won't change a thing? I suppose next the city's recycling fee will increase to cover "the increased cost of doing business." What is this place, training grounds for Wall Street?

And this is all besides the fact that the city is cynically taking advantage of a noble urge to preserve the environment. It's taken decades to get to the point where 80 percent of people in a town like this recycle, and when something becomes a habit, you can always count on some government bureaucrat to see the dollar signs.