The city should ensure curbside recycling is provided to every home, apartment and business in Lincoln, according to recommendations from a solid waste advisory committee.
The committee report also encourages the city to develop programs that reduce food waste going to the city's landfill and reduce construction and demolition waste going to the city disposal site.
But providing curbside recycling to everyone is the most specific recommendation and the one that would directly affect the most people.
Some people have called the recommendation a mandate. But the committee and Mayor Chris Beutler have made it clear people will not be required to sort, separate and recycle.
The city would make sure curbside recycling was provided to everyone, probably through a city ordinance. But residents would not have to use it.
However, the details -- just how that recycling will be provided -- are up to Beutler.
The mayor plans to talk with committee members before deciding what is the best route for Lincoln, said Rick Hoppe, Beutler's chief of staff.
Hoppe said he didn't know when the mayor might bring a plan forward.
The city could require that garbage haulers provide recycling for every customer. Or it could look at other ways to make sure recycling is available to every business and home.
Studies indicate more people will recycle when recycling is convenient.
The task force focus on recycling is no surprise.
From the beginning, some business representatives and owners of garbage hauling companies have said the task force, appointed by Beutler, was stacked with environmentalists who wanted to push for mandatory recycling.
Coby Mach, president and CEO of the Lincoln Independent Business Association and one of two task force members who voted against the plan at the group's final meeting Tuesday, said he was disappointed the committee took a mandate over the educational route.
"Every new regulation imposes a cost on businesses," Mach said. Raising the cost of doing business in Lincoln can hurt a business' ability to compete, he said.
The committee did favor maintaining the status quo on one issue. It preferred to retain a seasonal ban on grass and leaves rather than ban them year round.
The task force report will include technical papers developed by city staff and by HDR Inc., which was paid $330,000 for its consulting work.
It also will include more specific suggestions from individual committee members that were discussed but not included in the formal recommendations.