Does Riverside actually need twice-weekly trash collection? Is having the option to have the trash picked up at the back door really necessary? Should the village’s recycling program be beefed up? Is there a better way to handle fees for yard waste removal?

The village board will be listening for answers to those questions and others from residents soon as trustees ponder a new contract for waste hauling. For the past 10 years, Riverside has had a waste hauling contract with Allied Waste Industries (formerly BFI). That contract is up Nov. 30, and the village wants to see if there’s any way it can improve service and/or cut costs to residents.

Single-family homeowners pay $21.77 per month for curbside collection and $30.28 per month for back door collection. The charges for two-unit buildings are $32.14 and $44.78 per month, respectively.

“The idea is to seek input from residents and groups,” said Trustee James Reynolds, who is spearheading the issue for the board along with Trustee Jean Sussman. “Once we have that, we can make recommendations about the elements sought in the next contract.”

Reynolds said that he and Sussman hope to convene a public meeting to gather information from residents.

“In the next couple of weeks, we’ll decide on public meetings,” said Reynolds at the board’s June 15 meeting. “We’re hoping to come back to the board within a month.”

The two trustees have already met with representatives from the Cook County Solid Waste Agency and with Karen Rozmus, solid waste coordinator for the village of Oak Park to determine what options are available with respect to waste hauling.

Oak Park’s recycling program in particular was of interest, according to Reynolds. Oak Park gives residents a 64-gallon trash can for recycling waste, allowing for far greater capacity than the small totes currently available to Riverside residents.

Getting more people to recycle would reduce the amount of solid waste going into landfills, which makes sense from both an economic and environmental perspective, Reynolds said.

“It seems like a logical choice, but I wouldn’t say that without examining every option,” Reynolds said.

In addition, Oak Park offers residents two different sizes for regular trash cans, which come at different costs to residents. Instead of a monthly fee for yard waste, Oak Park requires that residents place stickers, which cost $2.05 each, on yard waste bags and containers.

Whether Riverside would adopt any of those options is what will be up for public discussion.

Reynolds said that residents will be notified of the public meetings about waste hauling via e-flash, the village’s Web site and possibly through a notice sent in water bills.

The village hasn’t decided yet if it will negotiate with Allied directly or opt for a full-blown competitive bidding process.

“It depends on what we decide we want and if Allied is willing to be competitive,” Reynolds said.