No more hauling plastic containers, glass bottles and paper to the recycling drop-off center for Kathy Hoke.

No more hauling plastic containers, glass bottles and paper to the recycling drop-off center for Kathy Hoke.

Starting Monday, June 4, she need only walk her recyclables to the curb.

Hoke's West Side residence is among 47,000 households involved in the first phase of the city's new, free recycling program. The service area includes portions of Columbus' West, Northwest and South sides. Each household received a 64-gallon blue bin that will be emptied every two weeks, alternating with yard-waste pickup.

"I think the new service does make it more convenient," Hoke said. "You don't have to take it anywhere."

The new citywide initiative does not include multifamily dwellings such as condominium and apartment complexes.

Delivering on a longtime promise, Mayor Michael Coleman announced the comprehensive recycling initiative in March. The five-phase program will be rolled out over the next eight months, covering a total of 227,000 households.

Columbus signed a five-year, $13.9 million contract with Rumpke for the implementation of the recycling program and is expected to save $13.5 million to $15.3 million in diverting the waste from the landfill and avoiding related fees, said Erin Miller, the city's environmental steward.

"We need people to participate in order to make that true," she said.

For that same five-year period, the city allocated $6.8 million toward the carts, delivery and an educational campaign, which includes outreach to civic groups, automated phone calls, posters, door hangers and other literature.

Only one person so far has rejected the cart, she said.

The city plans to monitor the participation rate by measuring the tonnage collected on each route per month.

Hoke, a coordinator of the Wilshire Heights block watch, said she would help spread the word through her neighborhood group.

"We'll get there," she said. "I think this is a learning process."

Still, she thinks more than a few residents will miss the weekly yard-waste pickup.

"Some folks will have a harder time getting used to it than others," she said.

Until the program is completely phased in, residents still can pay Rumpke $8.25 a month for curbside recycling.

Otherwise, the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio will continue to operate more than 220 drop boxes throughout Greater Columbus, said Jodi Andes, chief public information officer for the organization.

Once the Columbus program is fully implemented, SWACO will reassess its drop-box deployment, she said.

"But residents need to know that we will continue the same service for the drop-box program that they have come to expect," she said.