Westerville is changing its recycling services for residents, rolling out blue plastic carts instead of bins for curbside pickup.

Christa Dickey, the city's community affairs director, said blue 65-gallon carts with lids will be replacing red bins that were used in Westerville for curbside pickup. The process began April 1.

Dickey said residents can keep the red recycling bins for personal use or they can be taken by Rumpke. She said some residents have had the idea of keeping them to use to place recycled items from their house into the new bins outside.

Items that are accepted for recycling will not change, she said.

Acceptable items include paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, and cartons for milk or juice, according to the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio's website.

The carts have been made available through a grant and cost-sharing program through SWACO, she said. Deployment of the carts to Westerville residents is expected to take about three weeks.

The new receptacles feature wheels for rolling and a handle for efficient transport, as well as an attached lid, according to the city's website.

"The city of Westerville is committed to leveraging this assistance from SWACO to help boost curbside recycling participation in our community. We believe residents will appreciate the increased capacity and ease of use provided by the carts," said Kevin Weaver, director of the Westerville Public Service Department, in a press release.

Weaver said there is no additional cost for the new bins for Westerville residents.

SWACO is providing the carts to Blendon Township, Bexley, Gahanna and Reynoldsburg, the release stated.

Franklin County residents and businesses recycle 49%, or 958,000 tons -- 4 pounds of material per person per day -- of all the waste they create each year.

That's above the national average of 34%, according to the press release.

Hanna Greer-Brown, SWACO communications manager, said the wheeled carts are considered a best practice, with other communities such as Columbus, Hilliard and Dublin already providing residential carts to collect recyclables.

She said the carts provide many advantages over recycling bins, such as automated collection to improve safety and efficiency, reduced litter and benefits to communities seeking competitive bids for recycling and waste-hauling services.

Westerville residents who have a broken or stolen cart should call 614-901-6740 and submit a request for assistance. The city will replace or repair the cart.

ThisWeek reporter Marla K. Kuhlman contributed to this story.