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Don’t trash this plan

Recycling is vital to keeping landfill operating

POSTED February 1, 2012 2:36 p.m.
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Chuck Smith/

Opening a new cell to the Barton County Landfil...

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of articles about the Solid Waste Management Plan that was adopted by the Barton County Commission this week.)

Solid Waste Department Director Mark Witt was able to report this week that the Barton County Landfill did a great business this past year and because of that, he doesn’t look at needing to increase tipping fees in the immediate future.
In fact, as he was discussing the renewal of the Solid Waste Management Plan, Witt said he doesn’t look for any increase in the next couple of years.
But that doesn’t mean the facility can stop the cost-cutting measures that have been important to it in the past several years, because just about everything about running a landfill is getting more expensive.
In fact, one of the great investments in the future of the county comes through the landfill staff’s efforts to increase recycling programs, because everything that is kept out of the landfill keeps it operating longer, and that is vital to the continuation of this service, Witt explained.
Every resident of Barton County generates 3.73 pounds of refuse every day, all year long, Witt reported. The more of that refuse which can be kept out of the landfill, the better.
Opening new areas of the landfill continues to get more and more expensive in just about every way, from the materials that are required, to the fuel needed for the construction, as was shown this past year when a new cells was opened.
It is vital for that cell to last as long as possible, and that means being aggressive with recycling.
Unfortunately, Witt told the commissioners this week, recycling is a challenge in this area because so many objects have to be trucked to processing facilities and adding that transportation cost means there is no profit in the effort.
In the areas where it is economically feasible, the staff keeps operating, such as the e-waste project, intended to keep as many electronic devices as possible out of the landfill.
There’s also the household waste program and its reuse effort.
And the staff are considering opening a construction reuse area, where materials that could be used are kept out of the landfill and warehoused for resale.
Witt explained that project would save valuable landfill space; make some money through the sales; and save money for the patrons who could buy materials at reduced costs.
The project is still in the discussion phase, he noted.
What is clear is the vital role any recycling efforts will play in the future of the landfill, he stressed.
Now that the Solid Waste Management Plan has been adopted by county officials, it will move on to be considered by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for final approval and implementation, Witt explained.


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