Recycling took a couple of steps forward in Naperville as city council members passed a funding plan to provide residents with new recycling carts and approved a contract to build an environmental collection center.
The city will spend $375,000 to provide recycling carts with lids and wheels, but residents also will pay $36 for each cart, payable in $3 monthly utility bill charges for 12 months.
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The environmental collection center, to be built north of the city's public works headquarters on Fort Hill Drive, will cost $1.2 million using $900,000 from a state grant.
It will be designed as a one-stop drop-off location for all kinds of recyclables, including electronics, light bulbs, prescription medications, paper, plastic, glass and household hazardous waste such as oil-based paint and pesticides.
Lamp Incorporated of Elgin will design and build the 4,935-square-foot center, even though its $1,236,982 bid came in $126,482 over budget. Money Naperville has in a DuPage County Solid Waste Fund will fill the gap between the budgeted amount and the contract cost.
City officials said construction of the environmental collection center and the switch to recycling carts from smaller bins without lids both aim to increase materials that are recycled instead of sent to landfills.
City Manager Doug Krieger said recycling carts will be available to residents in the fall. Once the carts are distributed, using them will be the only way to have recycling collected at the curb in Naperville. Residents can choose a 32-gallon, 65-gallon or 95-gallon cart, or they can opt not to buy any cart if they don't want to recycle.
Council members who unanimously approved the recycling cart funding plan asked city staff members to continue searching for ways to decrease the cost to residents, and Finance Director Rachel Mayer said her department will do just that.
"In our quest to get more people to recycle and get on the program and utilize it like we want them to, I think it'd be great to be able to say 'Here it is -- go nuts. No cost to you, we found the money,'" council member Paul Hinterlong said. "Hopefully we can work on that going forward."