Recycle bins

A recycling bin filled with bottles and cans sits curbside in Killeen. A study showed the city’s existing voluntary curbside recycling program operating at a net loss.

BELTON — About 70 percent of eligible Belton customers used curbside recycling on the first day of the program, according to Waste Management, the city’s waste provider.

On Wednesday, Waste Management crews made their first recycling stops under the city’s new service contract, where homeowners receive trash service once a week and recycling service every other week.

Half of the city was served Jan. 8; the other half will have their recycling collected on Jan. 15.

The participation was considered “very good, especially for a new program,” Belton spokesman Paul Romer said.

Waste Management crews collected 7.55 tons of recyclables, depositing the items at Temple Iron & Metal.

While the company projected crews will eventually collect between 18 to 25 tons per week through the program, the first-week total is understandable, said Paul Daugereau, Waste Management Public sector manager.

The program is not only new, but customers serviced Wednesday also had twice-a-week trash service the week before, meaning fewer potential recyclables, Daugereau said.

“We look for (the tonnage) to improve greatly” in the coming weeks, he said.

The company also estimated that 30 percent of the recyclables collected and delivered to Temple Iron & Metal Wednesday — or about 2.3 tons of it — would have otherwise gone to the Temple landfill, Romer said.

The only real “hiccup” on the first day was the number of glass bottles in the 96-gallon cans, Romer said.

Some glass bottles, which cannot be recycled in the program, were picked out by crews. In the future, cans with glass bottles, or other non-recyclables, will be tagged to notify customers.

“They recognize it’s a learning experience,” Romer said.

On Feb. 3, an add-on curbside recycling service will begin for those commercial customers and institutions, such as churches or private schools, that already use curbside trash.

That service was delayed to ensure a smooth start for residential customers, Romer said.

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