The city of Reynoldsburg is moving to a cart-based system for its curbside recycling program.

New 64-gallon carts will replace the open bins now in use for recycling. The wheeled carts will be delivered starting May 3 to all households in the city that have until now used the smaller bins, Public Service Director Bill Sampson said.

All customers should receive the new carts by May 11, he said.

Switching to carts makes environmental and financial sense, officials say.

Currently, the 18-gallon bins are collected by hand, with recyclables going into trucks without being crushed.

In addition to holding more recyclables, the new carts have lids and are expected to eliminate the problem of litter blowing out of the open bins.

Since the new carts can be collected using automated trucks, using them typically helps reduce costs, Sampson said.

"The compaction that is necessary with cart-based collections allows drivers to pick up more homes' recyclables on a route, which means fewer trucks and employees on the road," he said. "Reduced curbside garbage volume equates to lower landfill and waste-collection costs."

The new carts were made possible by two grants totaling $316,011 the city received last year from the Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio and the Recycling Partnership, a national organization that connects communities with private dollars to expand recycling.

According to SWACO, approximately 10,475 recycling carts will be delivered to households in Reynoldsburg. Apartment complexes are not affected by the new program, Sampson said.

Without the grants, the carts would have cost $45 each but the grants provide $29.50 per house – $22.50 per house from SWACO and $7 per house from the Recycling Partnership.

After the carts are in place, the city had planned to charge residents a one-time fee of $15.52 on their quarterly water bill to help pay for the carts, but an April 11 release from the city says official now are "looking at options to offset the cost of the carts at this time" and that it hasn't been determined yet what the fee will be for residents.

The city of Westerville, which also is receiving wheeled carts for recycling through the SWACO program, is covering its residents' share of the cost.

Sampson said recycling using the new carts will start on the next collection day immediately after delivery. Residents may keep their old recycling bins for personal use or may place empty bins outside May 16 for removal by Rumpke.

In addition to Reynoldsburg and Westerville, Bexley, Gahanna and Blendon Township are implementing the use of new recycling carts this year with help from the grant programs, said Andrew Booker, SWACO programs manager. Hilliard, Dublin and Columbus also provide recycling carts to their residents.

Recyclables that can be disposed of in the carts include paper, cardboard, plastic bottles and jugs, metal cans, glass bottles and jars, and cartons for milk or juice, according to the SWACO website.

The agency says about 96 percent of Franklin County's single-family households have access to curbside recycling but many still use smaller bins with limited capacity that must be carried to the curb.

The larger size provides more space for recyclables such as cardboard boxes, which are becoming more prevalent thanks to online shopping, Booker said.

"Across Ohio, hundreds of communities have moved to wheeled recycling carts because of the advantages that they provide," he said.

"Many communities also comment that they just look nicer on recycling day because the containers are all uniform and the recyclables are contained under the lid."

Reynoldsburg residents should receive a postcard in the mail this month with information about the new program. Magnets and educational information will be delivered with the new carts, Booker said.

SWACO's Recycle Right initiative aims for a 75 percent recycling rate in Franklin County by 2032.

Currently, the county has a 49.1 percent rate.

Refuse-collection schedules with Rumpke, the city's current trash-hauler will not be affected, Sampson said. Reynoldsburg's contract with Rumpke runs through 2021, he said, and the company will continue to collect recyclables using the new containers.

A limited number of smaller, 32-gallon wheeled carts will be available, Sampson said.

"We know that some residents have expressed reservations about the size of the carts," he said. "We are asking that all residents try their new recycling carts for 60 days before they make up their minds.

"We know from the experience of other communities that the vast majority of residents will find that they like their new recycling cart."

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