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Commission backs recycling efforts
Commissioners note recycling extends landfill lifespan
new deh county commission household waste pic web
Shown is the current household hazardous waste building at the Barton County Landfill. The structure will be replaced. - photo by Tribune file photo

 Barton County’s recycling efforts and the need to extend the County Landfill’s lifespan were on the minds of Barton County commissioners Monday morning.

First, the commission awarded the county’s recycling grant to Sunflower Diversified Services of Great Bend. 

In the 2018 operating budget, the commission allocated $15,000 under Solid Waste for recycling with an understanding that applications would be accepted locally for the funds, County Administrator Phil Hathcock said. Eligible are any county department, agency, organization, recycling center, city, school district or community college located in Barton County. 

The applicant would need to demonstrate a positive economic and environmental impact in the county, be consistent with the Barton County Solid Waste Management Plan, benefit the County and its residents and increase recycling. Sunflower submitted the only application, Hathcock said.

Sunflower Executive Director Jon Prescott said he appreciated the county’s continued support of the agency’s efforts. Last year, Sunflower processed 2.6 million pounds of recyclable materials.

Now, he said they are looking for an industrial glass pulverizer so Sunflower can recycle more. “So, that tonnage is going to go up this year.”

The County Road and Bridge Department has utilized a lot of this glass in its mixtures when it maintains county blacktops.

Second, commissioners OKed the replacement of the household hazardous waste building at the Barton County Landfill. The 40-by-60-foot steel building will be installed by Steel Builders Construction of Great Bend for a cost of $53,692. 

The landfill currently has a building on-site that was constructed to house household hazardous waste and other recycling operations, said Hathcock, who also serves as solid waste director. However, it was constructed as a temporary structure and has become too small to support current recycling demands. 

“The program has grown and grown,” he said. Products included in this effort are cleaners, pesticides, herbicides, batteries, paints and automotive liquids. 

Why is this a big deal?

“This extends the life of the landfill,” Commissioner Alicia Straub said. “It is a win-win for everyone.”

“We have over 30 years left at the landfill as it is permitted now,” Hathcock said. The county is in the midst of the long, drawn-out process of expanding the permit that would extend the life to about 80 years.

“This won’t change the footprint,” he said. It just means the existing site will be used more efficiently. 

But, every item that can be recycled instead of winding up at the dump helps preserve the facility even longer, he said.