Richland may expand its optional curbside recycling program to include commercial properties next year, if the city council approves a plan being developed by the city's Public Works Department.
Public Works Director Pete Rogalsky and Solid Waste Manager Kip Eagles spoke to the council about the plan in a workshop Tuesday.
A rate structure is yet to be identified, but Eagles said the rates would have to cover the cost of providing the service.
Councilwoman Sandra Kent asked if conditions in the recycling market had changed enough since the residential recycling service started last year to allow the city to offer the service at no cost to residents.
At the time, the council adopted the current rate of $5.70 per month in early 2010, the kinds of recycled material the city planned to collect had no resale value.
But Eagles said that is starting to change, and adding commercial recycling may give the city enough volume of materials to better negotiate contracts.
The city would need to get about $65-$70 per ton of recycled materials to be able to offer the program at no cost, and prices are creeping toward that, he said.
Rogalsky said his department would like to reassess the curbside recycling program and its rates at the end of 2012 after having run the program for two full seasons.
About 3,800 residents have signed up for curbside recycling, but more people also are using the city's recycling drop boxes, he added.
-- The council looked at possible designs for new city entrance signs and continued its discussion of park impact fees.
The council is scheduled to give final approval to an increase in park impact fees at its meeting next Tuesday.