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.”

Contact ​Brandon Janes at bjanes@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7552

(2) comments


July 26, 2013

Well that takes the cake. The comments went from taking a program that would be environmentally friendly, for no charge, to one that would be a toss up, to one that would be mandatory, for a fee of $2.50/month each an every month, to one that would be more costly, $3.00/each and every month, all in the name of 'protect the environment'. As one gentleman said, 'At $1.73 Million/year for three years, you have recovered the gross outlay for the entire cost of the program. With the city outlay of $676.000/year, and the city taking in $1.73 Million/year, that amounts to an annual net profit of just over $1,000,000.00/annually and that doesn't account for the profit that the city can generate from the sale of recyclable materials. I'm sorry gentlemen and Ms. Blackstone, you don't get a crackerjack prize from this one. You are asking the citizens of this city to bank a profit making venture. As the Director of Solid Waste was quoted as saying, “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.” Now let me see, at 1.73 Million annually and an out lay of $676,000.00, that seems to me that there is a bit of profit left over. As they used to say, 'you better lick that calf over'.


"You should get paid to do something good" is a really telling statement. No, you should do good things out of the goodness of your heart. Or, in the case of recycling, you should do it because of the long term rewards. I'm glad to hear Killeen is considering citywide mandatory recycling.

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