Recycle bins

Bottles and cans fill a recycle bin Monday, June 3, 2013, in Killeen.

The Killeen City Council decided not to throw away a proposal Tuesday to implement mandatory citywide recycling over the next two years.

Although citywide single-stream recycling would cost an estimated $4.6 million to implement, city staff encouraged the council’s endorsement of a recycling program more closely aligned with other area cities.

“The local communities — Copperas Cove, Fort Hood, Belton and Temple — are all looking at single-stream recycling,” Killeen City Manager Glenn Morrison said at Tuesday’s workshop.

“The initiative is moving forward.”

Killeen’s current voluntary recycling program charges residents $2.48 a month for the curbside service, which is unusual for most Central Texas cities, said Michael Cleghorn, Killeen director of Solid Waste.

“I don’t know of any cities that have volunteer subscription other than the city of Killeen,” Cleghorn said.

The estimated $4.6 million cost of the new program would fund seven

recycling trucks, 46,000 new recycling carts — one for each residential solid waste customer — and associated personnel costs.

New recycling carts would be significantly larger than the blue boxes of the current system — either 90 or 65 gallons, which is closer to the size of residential trash carts.

Automated recycling pickup systems require the larger carts.

Cleghorn estimated the city would save between $210,000 and $420,000 a year from the decrease in hauling costs and fees at the Temple landfill, where Killeen disposes of its trash.

Under the proposed plan, residents would still see an estimated $2.50 increase on their utility bills, whether they decide to use the recycling service or not.

“The cost to do it is more than it would generate, but it’s the right thing to do,” Cleghorn said. “It saves the life of our landfills.”

The council asked for a financial analysis of the program, including potential debt services, and will consider the program for approval in the fiscal year 2013-14 budget, which begins Oct. 1.

“I think we’d like to explore this further, and I think we have to do this fairly quickly,” Mayor Dan Corbin said.

Contact Brandon Janes at or (254) 501-7552

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