A plan to implement mandatory citywide recycling in the city of Killeen is getting mixed reviews across the city.
To pay for the program, the city would hike residential trash bills by $3, a measure hard to swallow for many residents, such as Mike Harris, 22, owner of the Pita de Jour restaurant in downtown Killeen.
“You should get paid to do something good,” Harris said.
Harris said he takes his recyclable material to Centroplex Recycling on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, where he can earn $20 to $25 per load.
“They’re going to make something mandatory that I get paid for all of the time,” Harris said.
During a Tuesday council workshop, Killeen Director of Solid Waste Michael Cleghorn said the expenditures of the proposed program outweigh the estimated revenues from recycling sales.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about recycling,” Cleghorn said. “It doesn’t make a lot of money and it does cost to go by everybody’s house and pick it up.”
Harris said that the many homeless or indigent in Killeen make their livelihood gathering recyclable material from the streets, and the proposal would eliminate that source of income.
“There’s a lot of people that are struggling, people searching for something to survive and you are taking that away from them,” Harris said.
Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin said he thinks the opportunity to gather recyclable materials and sell them to private recycling companies will continue and possibly increase after a recycling program is established.
“I don’t think they will be affected a lick,” Corbin said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t get more business now because people will be segregating their cans from the garbage.”
Corbin said he supports mandatory citywide recycling “because it is the right thing to do,” but wants more financial analysis of the revenues that selling the recyclable material will generate.
“There is no question it is going to cost money to do it,” Corbin said.
“Everybody pays for all city services. It’s a balancing act, but we make people to do good all of the time.”
Retired airman James Palmer, 70, pays the extra $2.48 each month for the current voluntary recycling service and thinks it is about time other residents are forced to get on board.
“I think for the amount that they are going to charge it is no problem,” Palmer said. “All you have to do is keep track of your money and realize what you are doing is saving our environment for your future children.”