Curbside recycling could begin in Pickerington as soon as October.

Curbside recycling could begin in Pickerington as soon as October.

City council is considering a new contract with Waste Management of Ohio Inc. that would include recycling while raising the rate for residential trash service less than $3 a month.

"The safety committee looked at each of the proposals and decided we were going to make a statement for the city in terms of recycling," said Keith Smith, council member and committee chairman.

But not all council members agree a citywide recycling program is the way to go.

The city's current contract with Waste Management expires Sept. 30. Residents currently pay $13.36 a month for weekly trash service.

Under the recommended proposal, residents will pay $16.04 a month.

For the additional fee, they will continue to have trash collected each week and will receive a 64-gallon, lidded bin for recyclable materials that will be emptied every other week. They also can choose to rent a 96-gallon trash bin for another $2 a month.

Council members Brian Sauer and Cristie Hammond voted against the first reading of the contract at council's June 17 meeting.

Hammond said she objected to requiring use of a "ridiculously huge bin."

"I'm not willing to have a bin that size anywhere in my yard," Hammond said. "I don't want to pay for something I'm not going to use and I think a lot of us feel that way."

Sauer said he has a problem with mandating residents recycle their trash.

"I have a hard time passing that fee along to residents on top of other increases they are facing this year," Sauer said. "I would like to see an option where it is something citizens can make their own decisions on."

Smith said that while the cost of trash service is going to go up regardless of whether a citywide recycling program is adopted, adding an "opt out" provision would make the cost to residents "significantly higher."

"We are not going to mandate recycling," Smith said. "But the cost is going to be spread among everyone so the option is there if you want to do it."

Sauer argued it amounts to the same thing.

"Whether you recycle or not, you are still under this program, paying a fee for those who choose to recycle," he said. "I have a fundamental problem with that."

The city ran a three-month pilot recycling program in the Pickerington Hills and Ramar subdivisions last year.

Of the approximately 800 households in those two neighborhoods, about 42 percent responded to a city survey about the program. While 317 households reported that they would be willing to participate in a voluntary recycling program, that number dropped to 157 when there was an additional charge associated with it.

Pickerington residents currently have the ability to recycle household waste by dropping it off at a collection site in Sycamore Park on Hereford Road.