The City of Harker Heights approved a new contract for municipal solid waste collection and disposal with Waste Management of Texas, Inc. The following information will be distributed through our utility billing, social media, print media, and our City website. Please take time to review the information and if there are any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at 254-953-5649 or [email protected]
- Mayor Spencer H. Smith’s letter to residents.
- Bi-fold information – will be delivered with the 96 gallon poly cart
- Recycle Center Drop Center information
1. Recycling Issues
A.) Why don’t we offer curb side one stream recycling?
Market volatility, geographic location of markets, and the associated cost of recycling have been the primary limiting factors for single-stream recycling in the City. Recycling markets have been extremely volatile in recent years and primary purchasers of materials recycled in the U.S. are other countries which have ceased or greatly reduced their purchases of recycled materials. This has resulted in a decrease of revenue received from recycling, and an increase in the costs associated with recycling services. Also, in discussions with Waste Management, the City learned that recycling items would need to be hauled approximately 55 miles one-way to a facility for deposit. This hauling cost further adds to the fee that must be passed on to citizens to provide this service. It is important to note that for recycling to be successful it would require participation of all rate payers, not just those that desire or may use recycling. For the trucks to operate on the City’s streets all rate payers would be provided a recycling can and would need to pay the associated fee, whether they use the service or not.
The new trash service will provide an easy transition for the City at the point the Council directs staff to negotiate for recycling services. Should costs associated with recycling decline, and the Council directs staff, the City could easily transition to single-stream recycling with an extra can provided for recyclables.
B.) Bins are always full at the Recycling Drop Center.
Fort Hood has graciously worked with the City to provide a recycling drop point for citizens. Fort Hood has always provided excellent service in terms of picking up the recycling bins and delivering empty ones. Since the service began over ten years ago, the amount of recycling coming to the drop site has greatly increased. Fort Hood has maintained the collection at the increased pace of drop offs, but if they have a mechanical failure of any kind, given the inflow of recyclables, the bins fill quickly. Fort Hood is a great partner and communicates with the City when these issues arise. They also do their best to resume the service as soon as their equipment allows. Fort Hood’s willingness to work with the City has allowed the City to provide this service at no cost to citizens.
2. Having to rent our trash cart for $5.00?
The original trash cart that will be delivered to each residential customer is included within the current monthly cost. If a resident needs an additional trash cart, then a $5.00 fee will be added to the residents monthly billing.
3. Why are we changing the services and who is the agreement with?
Waste Management, our trash provider, is using a new automated, side-loading truck. The automated service truck is a vehicle which can grasp, hoist, and empty the waste carts without the need for manual assistance.
The automated trucks will be safer, faster, quieter, and cleaner than manual collection. Another reason for switching to the automated truck is to protect the workers. Refuse material collectors rank the fifth most dangerous occupation in the country when it comes to fatal injuries, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The automated trucks reduce the workers’ exposure to potential danger.
4. Is the cost going up for this new service?
The residential rate for this service will remain the same as it is currently. However, if a resident needs an additional cart, then a $5.00 fee per cart will be added to the residents monthly billing.
5. Can we just use our own personal trash cans and opt out of the new cans?
No, the Waste Management trash carts are designed specifically for pick up by the automated collection trucks.
6. Will any of the current workers losing their jobs?
No one is losing a job to this new equipment. Our provider reports that it is challenging to keep these positions staffed. The new automated truck not only requires a crew to operate – it also makes this difficult job more attractive to potential job applicants.
7. When will the new trash carts be delivered to each residential customer?
Waste Management will begin delivering the carts between February 16 – 26, 2021.
8. New Trash Service begins when?
Waste Management will begin using the side loading trash trucks on Monday, March 1st. Residents should begin using the new 96-gallon cart on their assigned collection day that occurs the week of March 1, 2021.
9. What will happen to any trash or debris outside the trash carts?
All trash must fit within the carts to be collected. Additional trash outside the cart will not be serviced.
10. What does the Recycling Drop Center accept and what is the cost to use the Drop Center?
The Recycling Drop Center is available free of charge for Harker Heights residents. Information on the Drop Center can be found at
11. Are there any changes to the current collection days?
The current trash collection scheduled days will remain the same. Residences will continue to be collected twice-a-week.