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Sunflower remodels recycling center for efficiency, comfort
Sunflower recycle remodel 2019
Ronald Wilson, left, a client at Sunflower Diversified Services, helps Ben Millard, Great Bend, with materials at Sunflower Recycling.

The recent remodeling project at Sunflower Recycling has given the staff extra elbow room in a more efficient setting.

            Sunflower Diversified Services operates the drop-off site at 5523 10th, Great Bend, as part of its multi-faceted recycling operation.

            The non-profit agency serves people with intellectual disabilities and delays in central Kansas.

Sixty-one clients at Sunflower work in recycling.

            “We wanted to make the setting more efficient for the staff and customers at the drop-off site,” said Jon Prescott, Sunflower executive director. “We expect the operation to grow and want to be better prepared.

            “For example, we are looking at the possibility of new equipment to enable us to process more glass.”

            The remodeling project included: moving excess items to storage at the recycling processing plant near the airport; and the installation of an industrial water cooler for better climate control.

            “Our major recycling goal is to create more jobs for clients,” Prescott said. “Many of the folks we serve are able to work and want to work for their own paychecks.

“Recyclers help us provide these jobs, while protecting the environment and keeping materials out of the landfill. We appreciate everyone who recycles and strongly encourage others to do the same.”

            Currently, an average of 100 vehicles visit the center on 10th Street each day. However, this is only part of the recycling operation.

            Sunflower also offers a drop-off trailer at 18th and Williams, and serves hundreds of businesses on pickup routes. The materials are taken to the processing plant for shipment.

            “Any extra revenue we make from this operation goes directly to the people we serve,” Prescott noted. “This could be in the form of new jobs, services and equipment. Every penny stays in our local five-county service area.”

            The executive director also pointed out that a board of directors governs the non-profit agency and determines how funds are spent.

            “Our great volunteer board always looks for ways to increase revenues in recycling and other areas so we can enhance services,” Prescott said. “Board members are good stewards of tax dollars and crucial private donations that allow us to serve children and adults.

            “As a non-profit entity, Sunflower does not have stockholders who expect dividend checks. The only stockholders we have are the people we serve.”

Sunflower became responsible for all recycling management and daily operations in January 2000. The drop-off center’s hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

            In the near future, Sunflower will share information with the community about new neighbors moving into other areas of the recycling center building.

            Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. It is in its 53rd year.