Chattanooga will join a neighboring city one-eighth its size in offering free 96-gallon cans to expand curbside recycling.

East Ridge has offered the service for more than a year. If the Chattanooga Council approves the proposed 2015 budget, public works officials will start sending out cans to 16,000 customers already signed up for recycling.

Now Chattanooga residents have to leave their aluminum and cardboard beside the street in boxes or garbage bags marked for recycling. No glass is allowed. Between 11,000 and 12,000 customers -- about a sixth of the households in Chattanooga -- regularly use curbside recycling, said Public Works Director Lee Norris.

Norris said he has been trying for years to expand the service, and this year, through the budgeting for outcomes process, he pitched an idea that the mayor's office approved.

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