City councillors in Thunder Bay want to know more about the cost to beef up the city's recycling program.

Council asked a consultant many questions last night about making recycling affordable.

Cathy Smith, a consultant with Stantec, said in the first phase of expanding the recycling system, the city would collect more leaf and yard waste, pick up bulky items, and make homeowners use clear garbage bags, to ensure they are not throwing out recyclables.

Smith said the city should also enhance the recycling depots, so more small businesses can use them.

The city could become a regional hub, taking in recycling from outlying areas, she added.

"And, it could also serve as more of a community resource if you will, in partnering with industrial [and] commercial sector,” she said.

By augmenting Thunder Bay’s recycling system, it is hoped more than 60 per cent of waste will be diverted from the city’s landfill. Currently only 22 per cent of waste is diverted from the landfill. The provincial average is 47 per cent.

But all of these ideas come at a price to taxpayers, which could be anywhere from $16-34 per month, per household.

Councillor Andrew Foulds wanted more of a cost breakdown of what that money is used for.

"People need to know what they're buying,” he said. “From that landfill site, to hazardous materials, they need to know what they're buying. You know, $12-36, that's shocking to a homeowner … they want to know what their $36 is getting them."

The consultants will collect more financial information, and present another report to council in April.