In an effort to streamline waste collection — and save money in the long run — city officials are eyeing a plan to start distributing 18,000 plastic recycling containers to residents in 2013.
Mayor Michael Summers said he hopes to switch the method of garbage collection to recycling through an automated process.
The proposal, which came up as part of the 2013 capital investment budget discussion, would cost the city an estimated $53 for each of the 18,000 containers.
However, Summers said the move could save the city as much as $100,000 per year.
In a nutshell, he said, the city receives money for recycled materials and pays to send stuff to a landfill.
“The whole premise is that we actually shift more from garbage to recycling,” he said. “We can go from 60 percent of residents recycling and take that participation higher — just chuck it in the blue container and take it out. No more messing with the blue bags.
“It’s also appropriate from a sustainability standpoint.”
Summers called the execution of the proposal “a big challenge because we don’t have the curb space.”
“How we work around that remains to be seen,” he said, adding that the change would be spread out over three years to adjust for any difficulties.
Possible solutions include banning street parking on days of pick-up or having different days for recycling and garbage pick-up.
“There’s a lot to work on there,” he said. “Whether we could pull it off remains to be seen.”
This wouldn’t be the first shake-up in the city’s department of refuse and recycling. A few years back, during the Ed FitzGerald administration, the city ended backyard garbage pickup, requiring residents to haul their waste to the tree lawn.
“We have several retirements coming in refuse, so if we’re going to do it, now is the time,” Summers said.
City council is expected to weigh the issue — as well as other budget items — at its Dec. 17 meeting.