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County awards recycling grant to Sunflower Diversified
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The Barton County Commission Monday morning awarded $15,000 to Sunflower Diversified Services for its recycling efforts.

In the 2015 budget, the commission allocated $15,000 under Solid Waste for recycling with an understanding that applications would be accepted locally for the funds. Those eligible include any department, agency, organization, recycling center, city, school district or community college located in Barton County. 

Sunflower was the only applicant this year, said Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock. 

With the money, Sunflower hopes to purchase a truck-bed lift, trailers, carts for recyclable materials and advertising, Hathcock said. It also plans on matching the money with $2,400 of its own.

“It is consistent with our solid waste management plan,” he said.

Last year, Sunflower was awarded $12,000 to improve its recycling efforts. Johnson said their goals were to improve their collection system and expand services. 

In the past year, Sunflower has spent $21,000 upgrading its recycling program and Johnson said the county grant was a big part of that. Sunflower purchased another truck to help with picking up recyclable materials from businesses, and it also expanded services to Larned and Pawnee County, adding Larned State Hospital, Larned schools and other businesses as customers. 

It also acquired its glass grinder and pulverizer. This was important, Johnson said, because Sunflower can’t find a vendor to purchase whole glass.

The grinder is keeping glass out of the landfill, over 28 tons of it.

Half of that material is being set aside for use by the Barton County Road and Bridge Department for use as a sand replacement. Johnson said they should know by this fall if this is feasible.

The rest will be used by Sunflower for driveways and parking lots.

“It’s going well,” Johnson said of the crushing efforts. “We’re recycling more but not as much as we could be.”

That’s part of the reason for the new carts and advertising, he said. They hope to have receptacles at more events and promote the idea of recycling more in hopes of increasing the volume.

Last year, Kans for Kids Fighting Cancer Foundation had also applied. It received $5,700 to purchase additional containers for aluminum cans and other items. 

It did not apply this year.