Ramsey County officials want people to recycle more when they're not at home. To do that, officials said, people need more convenient options.

So, the County Board is thinking about setting aside $1.3 million to buy nearly 2,000 recycling bins to give to cities for use in public areas.

Commissioners discussed the proposal Tuesday and will probably vote on it in two weeks.

It would be a three-phase program over three years. First, cities would put the bins in parks, along trails and in other recreational places. Second, cities would put the bins along streets. Third, the county would offer the containers to school athletic facilities.

The goal is to have the same kind of container in every public park in the county.

Cities would be responsible for placing and maintaining the containers, raising awareness of them and collecting recycled items.

The program would be paid for by surplus money in the county's solid waste fund.

The county has already put about 400 containers in its parks and ice arenas.

In other action, commissioners gave approval to the Department of Emergency Management and Homeland Security to negotiate a contract and purchase a so-called "common operating picture" system.

Ramsey County is leading a project to install the high-tech mapping system so authorities in 10 metro counties can get real-time information when disaster strikes. The system will probably cost $1 million to install and run for three years. Federal grants are being used to pay for it.