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Killeen reader offers proposals for implementing recycling program


To the Editor:

I’ve read with interest about the city council’s discussions on the matter of citywide recycling. I’m not sure how long the current system has been around, but I know that recycling is a worthwhile effort and it’s everyone’s duty to do their part.

Originally, I subscribed to the program. The cost was about $2.15. People I knew complained about having to pay anything to participate, stating that the city makes money off the sale of these materials. Not true. This fee just offsets the cost of recycling. If the program went from voluntary to mandatory, I knew we wouldn’t get off that cheaply anymore.

It seems that time has come. With anticipated costs of about $20 extra per month, I know these folks will definitely not be happy. What concerns me the most is that only homeowners and home renters seem to be targeted. There’s been no mention of apartment dwellers, businesses, churches or even the city’s own departments being part of the program. To be fair and equitable, everyone should participate. Making the program as painless as possible would go a long way to assuring its success.

Projected start-up costs for the new program are over $3 million to buy the trucks, containers and other equipment. I’ve got to wonder if it would be feasible to sort these recyclable materials at the city’s transfer station, eliminating most of this cost. Hiring people to quickly sort on the site materials would create jobs. The company tasked with removal would take it from there.

By only bagging nonrecyclable items and leaving recyclables loose to ease the process of sorting, things would stay simple, which makes it more likely for residents to participate. The most work that residents would have to do would be rinsing out bottles, jars and cans. Items like junk mail might require being bagged to keep it from getting blown around but these bags could be color coded to distinguish them from actual trash.

While this type of program would still require some sort of additional monthly charge, I believe it could be done at a cost more acceptable to everyone.

Bill Paquette