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."