If one recycling cart is far too big and another still slightly oversized, a third option may be just right -- and the city of Naperville will be offering all three sizes to residents as it switches from bins to covered carts, city councilmen said Tuesday night.
Councilmen added a third size -- a 32-gallon cart -- to a public works proposal to begin a mandatory recycling cart program, saying some residents may not be able to fit a 95- or 65-gallon toter into their garage.
"If we want to get people on board with recycling, we've got to give them options that they're comfortable with," Councilman David Wentz said.
The city will be switching to carts in an attempt to increase the amount residents recycle and decrease the amount they send to landfills, Public Works Director Dick Dublinski said. The change also allows the city to lock in its current contract with Resource Management until at least 2019 at a $2.43 weekly rate, which the Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County found to be 56 percent less than residents in other DuPage, Cook and Lake county towns pay.
"The goal here is to reduce trash," Dublinski said, adding the city aims to have residents recycle 40 percent of what they throw out, up from the current 30 percent. "Staff saw the opportunity to retain the price we have now."
When the recycling cart program first was proposed in July, residents primarily would have been offered the 95-gallon carts, which can hold seven tall kitchen garbage bags worth of material, with the 65-gallon carts available as an alternate. Dublinski said research shows the larger the container, the more people recycle.
"I don't think something that large is going to create more recyclables from me, because I'm already giving everything I've got. I live in a townhome -- most of my neighbors and myself don't have room for another barrel like that," resident Reindert Smit said about the 95- and 65-gallon carts.
Councilmen agreed and asked public works to amend the program from its original one-size-fits-all approach. Councilmen also asked city staff members to develop more options for how the new recycling carts will be paid for.
The original proposal called for a $4 fee to be added to residents' monthly bills for one year, covering all or most of the cost of the carts, which are expected to run $48 to $52 each.
Several councilmen said they are uncomfortable with the "mandatory" nature of the program, and they asked for more payment options to be presented at a later meeting.
Dublinski said no one will be forced to buy a recycling cart, but a cart will be necessary to use home recycling pickup service. Those who want to avoid buying a cart can share one with a neighbor, bring their recyclables to the city's public works facility at 180 Fort Hill Drive or skip recycling altogether, he said.