• December 26, 2014

Killeen-area cities taking different paths to single-stream recycling

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Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 4:30 am

Several cities in the Killeen area have migrated toward single-stream recycling, but all have executed it through different processes and have different terms.

The city of Killeen is currently in the process of bringing a single-stream recycling program online. A request for proposals was sent out Sept. 1, in which responses from qualified firms capable of processing and marketing the city’s recyclable materials were sought.

Single-stream recycling means that residents can put all their recyclable materials into one bin, rather than sorting them before putting them curbside as the current voluntary system requires.

The new program also increases the number of materials accepted for recycling. The single-stream program will allow for mixed paper, plastics No. 1 through No. 7, aseptic containers, steel and aluminum, and tin cans. The curb-sorted program is limited to mixed paper, No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, aluminum and tin cans, and glass bottles and jars.

The city received proposals from four companies and now it’s the City Council’s duty to choose the one that best suits the community’s needs.

Executing the new program will likely come at a price to residents. The city is proposing switching from its current “pay-as-you-throw” system where residents pay depending on the size of their garbage can to a citywide base fee.

Residents who currently use the city’s curb-sorted recycling program have $2.48 added to their garbage bill per recycling container. Residents with a 96-gallon can pay $17.50 per month. The cost of a 64-gallon can is $15.60 per month and 32-gallon cans are $14.38 per month.

Under the new system the city is proposing, all residents getting a 96-gallon recycling cart and a 96-gallon recycling can for a monthly base fee of $20.89. However, that number is subject to change following a rate study the city intends to do once the council endorses a contractor for its single-stream program.

The council is evaluating proposals from Balcones Resources, Centex Metals, WILCO Recycling and Texas Disposal Systems.

Balcones is projected to net the city annual revenues of $122,400; Centex is estimated to bring in $805,500, factoring in its leasing of the city’s transfer station; Texas Disposal Systems, $35,228; and WILCO, $72,000.

Belton

The city of Belton rolled out its single-stream recycling program Jan. 8. Like Killeen, Belton sent out a request for proposals, and Waste Management was chosen as the city’s contractor.

Mike Huber, director of public works, said the city does not receive any direct funding per ton of recycled materials.

“The recycled material commodities market is extremely volatile, and there is never a guarantee that the materials will generate revenue for the processor. It is not unheard of that recycling is a net loss instead of a net gain.”

Huber said the city chose to have the contractor bear the cost of the 10,000 new carts for a guaranteed return, which in turn, lowers the overall cost of the solid waste and recycling program.

“We are able to pass those savings to our customers, which, in this age of ever increasing costs, is a good deal,” he said.

Since bringing the program online, Belton has recycled 25.1 tons of materials.

Contrary to Killeen’s proposed fee hike, Belton residents experienced a decrease in their garbage collection fees when recycling was introduced earlier this month.

Paul Romer, city spokesman, said the rate for twice-a-week trash collection was $15.48 per month. Once the recycling program began, the service changed to twice-a-month recycling and weekly trash service for $14.76 per month. Romer said the fees include services for brush pickup and household hazardous waste pickup.

Temple

The city of Temple, like Belton, recently rolled out its citywide recycling initiative, kicking off the program Jan. 6. Temple also used the request-for-proposals process to elicit potential partners as it moved forward in its green initiative.

Shannon Gowan, city spokeswoman, said the city used the request-for-proposals process to “accommodate some creativity for a revenue sharing opportunity and educational component to be included in the partnership.”

Temple chose to enter into a partnership with Balcones Resources, out of Austin, who pays the city $5 per ton for its recyclables.

Gowan said the city is estimated to recycle about 3,000 tons annually, generating approximately $20,000 in revenues.

Temple residents experienced a rate increase of 40 cents to cover the cost of the recycling containers. Residents pay $16.20 per month for solid waste services, which include garbage, recycling and brush and bulk collection.

Copperas Cove

Copperas Cove started its single-stream recycling program in April. Kevin Keller, city spokesman, said the city did not use the request-for-proposals process to solicit contractors but instead negotiated a contract directly with WILCO Recycling.

In 2013, recycling netted the city $42,898 in revenues.

Keller said Copperas Cove doesn’t net a definite income from its recycling because the number fluctuates depending on the current market.

He said the city recycles about 500 tons annually.

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