The city of Killeen just ended its curbside pick-up of recycling, for financial reasons, I’ve heard. They took the recycling bins, and now, how many of us have stopped collecting the recyclable materials? What are we supposed to do? I guess it depends upon how important we think it is to recycle.

It’s always easy to hop on board when a service is offered and accomplished without too much “hands-on” effort. But when it stops, what we do next is determined by our understanding and commitment to the cause. Whether our recycling items are picked up or not, I wanted to revisit the concept of recycling, the process and the results of participating.

Is recycling important? Yes! By recycling, items can be repurposed, it frees up space in our landfills, and it saves our natural resources from being wasted needlessly. Recycling doesn’t mean we are being “environmental extremists.” It’s being a good steward of the earth and sets a good example for the next generation to follow.

Many of you know all of this but I wanted to encourage residents to continue recycling. Killeen still has a recycling center and a wonderful flier online, full of information on what to bring, when and where to bring it. Go to to re-educate yourself on how to continue this very important responsibility.

Just for fun, I wanted to list some items we use regularly, and how long it takes for them to biodegrade or break down if we put them in the landfill instead of recycling them. It’s pretty amazing, and I hope we’ll remember these lengths of time when we decide to throw one of these things in the garbage!

An aluminum can: 80 to 200 years

A glass bottle: 1 million years

Disposable diapers: 450 years

Plastic bags: 10 to 20 years

Plastic cups: 50 years

Cigarette butts: up to 5 years

Paper waste: 2 to 6 weeks

Cardboard: 2 months

Batteries: 100 years

Styrofoam: never

Now I know what you could be saying, “How do they know something takes that long?” I couldn’t find anything specific online except that scientists are constantly doing research on the decomposition of materials based on environmental conditions. I’m sure they can project times based on current data.

Let’s continue to do our part, and maybe even get our neighbors involved and take turns running the items downtown.

Darla Horner Menking is an outdoor enthusiast and Herald correspondent. Contact her at

(1) comment

budi santoso

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