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by Karla Camacho, KTB Communications Coordinator

Who says recycling isn’t happening? Well, in Texas, it sure is!

Over the past three decades, Keep Texas Beautiful’s Keep Texas Recycling (KTR) program and its network of community partners have made a remarkable impact on the Texas environment. Together, participating communities have recycled over  330 million pounds of material. This achievement has not only generated $12.3 million in revenue for KTR partners but has also conserved a significant 550,000 cubic yards of landfill space while saving partners over $5.8 million in landfill fees.

Old Corrugated Containers (OCC) Truck, Utopia, TX

Enhancing Accessibility: A Core Mission

Established in 1994, the KTR program has been steadfast in its mission to improve and expand recycling access to rural and underserved communities in Texas.  The program currently supports over 50 entities, including civic groups, private industries, military bases, government bodies, and school districts. The KTR program serves as the vital link between these entities and the public and private sectors. Acting as a liaison, KTR negotiates competitive contracts with haulers and end markets and manages the transportation and sale of recyclables. This collaborative approach empowers community recycling programs to increase the volume and quality of recyclables.

KTR's Collaborative Approach

A recycling program can be challenging to start or maintain. Proximity to markets, fluctuating commodity market values, the need for education, and funds for infrastructure can all influence a program’s sustainability. Navigating the unique challenges posed by rural landscapes and sparsely populated counties, KTR has champions initiatives aimed at expanding recycling opportunities. From targeting specific commodities and addressing hard-to-recycle items to implementing efficiency-driven strategies to optimize recycling operations, KTR’s efforts have been instrumental in overcoming barriers to sustainable recycling programs.

Volunteers at the Recycling Center Opening, Utopia, TX

Projects also include public awareness campaigns focused on increasing the volume of items recycled and decreasing contamination. Partnerships between national organizations, brands, and government entities have helped KTR expand collection sites and items collected at these sites, which has been vital to increasing recycling access in Texas.

Volunteers at the Recycling Center Opening, Utopia, TX
Recycling Education Materials, Uvalde, TX
OCC Truck, Polk County, TX

KTR provides technical assistance throughout the state of Texas, to any and all communities and groups interested in recycling. The majority of this work is done through public workshops, training, and webinars to reach a larger audience but can include site visits and individual consulting services, often crucial to understanding the needs of each community. This assistance typically includes recycling education, staff training, market assistance, and capacity building. KTR has been invited to advise and work with groups in the following places: Oklahoma, Louisiana, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, and even Alberta, Canada!

If you have any questions about KTR or how your community can get involved, feel free to email Zoe Killian, Keep Texas Recycling Program Manager at You can learn more about KTR at