With an increase in disposal fees by the Delaware Solid Waste Authority on the horizon, the Smyrna Utility Committee is looking for a way to alleviate the impact for Smyrna residents.

Councilman Jeff Flairty, chair of the committee, told council Monday during his committee report at the council meeting the committee is researching ways to mitigate those costs in hopes of absorbing the increase without transferring it on to customers.

Councilman Robert Johnson originally announced the increase at the Feb. 22 council meeting, stating it would be an increase the town would have to pass on to the customers. At the meeting, Town Manager Dave Hugg said the tipping fee would be increased from $82 per ton of trash to $85.50 per ton starting July 1, with planned increases again in 2014 and 2015.

Flairty said one way the committee believes the town can absorb the increase is by increasing the percentage of materials residents recycle each month. About 20 percent of the solid waste stream is currently being put out as recyclable material. There's a program Waste Management has that could double the percentage of recyclable materials in two years.

"Which would reduce our costs because then we don't have to send material to a landfill," Flairty said. "Basically it's free disposal for the town."

Every ton of trash sent to recycling saves the town $82; once this fee goes up in July each recycled ton will save the town $85.50.

"So we're looking forward to that because at the end of the day if we can find a way to not increase costs for trash, that's a good thing," Flairty said.

Email Jennifer Dailey at jennifer.dailey@doverpost.com.