By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Mattress recycling encouraged
Placeholder Image

 Sleep on this.

The trade group Nationwide Mattress Recycling reports that close to 4.5 million mattresses and box springs, or 250 million pounds, are destined to the garbage heap each year. Once mattresses and box springs are buried in a landfill, they do not easily disintegrate.

Of those, between 40 and 50 find their way to the Barton County Landfill each month. “That’s a lot of airspace,” Barton County Administrator Richard Boeckman told the County Commission Monday morning. 

Mattresses take up to 23 cubic feet of space each, he said. If one multiplies this the number that wind up in the Barton County Landfill each month, that’s a lot of high-volume waste. 

Mattresses are difficult to breakdown because of the way they are manufactured, Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock said. And their bulkiness and metal springs have a history of causing damage to landfill machinery.

But, 90 percent of the materials in mattresses can be recycled, Hathcock said. The metal springs are melted down and sold to steel companies, the cotton and foam can be used for carpet bagging or insulation, and the wood is commonly sold to wood chippers or burnt for fuel. 

This is where a partnership between the landfill and Hutchinson Correctional Facility come into play, Hathcock said. Every mattress the facility takes in goes to Hutch.

The inmates there use the foam for dog beds, the wood for furniture and recycle the metal. “This is a great program,” he said.

The information on the mattresses was part of Boeckman’s biweekly departmental update. Other highlights included:

Solid Waste Director Phil Hathcock

In the last reporting period, the landfill took in:

• 1036 tons of municipal solid waste

• 237 tons of construction/demolition waste

• 35.24 tons of special waste

• 548 loads of waste received for disposal

• $49,642.19 of revenue generated through disposal fees


Road and Bridge Director Dale Phillips 

Road and Bridge

• Asphalt work north of Claflin continues daily.

• Asphalt pothole patching was performed at various locations in the county.

• Mowing with two tractors continues in the west/northwest portion of the county. This is the start of the second mowing.

• Sign work continues as needed.

• Staff set up barricades Thursday night on NW 30 Avenue and 90 Road due to an auto accident.

• Mechanical work continued daily on various equipment repairs. 

• Staff removed washed out culverts on NE 30 Road east of K-156 and installed a half tank railroad car. This should improve drainage issues.

Noxious Weed 

• Spraying of noxious weeds on county, state and city right of way continues.

• Bindweed spraying in cultivated acres and pastures continues as requested.

• The Kansas Department of Agriculture audited spray activities last week with no major infractions.

Memorial Parks 

• Road and Bridge staff marked graves and headstone locations at the two Memorial Parks north of Great Bend.

• Flags were removed at the Memorial Parks after the Fourth of July Holiday. 

Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller 

Planning for disasters is much more than just making a checklist and keeping a list of names and phone numbers, Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller reported. Although both of those items can be referenced in an Emergency Operations Plan, a plan needs to define who can do what, when and what resources they can provide. 

County EOPs include Emergency Support Functions which group resources that provide similar or coordinating assets together. Each ESF has a primary agency that provides coordination with the agencies and resources contained within the ESF. In turn, the primary agency works in conjunction with emergency management to keep the ESF up-to-date and maintain a working relationship with the agencies referenced in the ESF.

Also, planning for pets during a disaster requires coordination between several agencies, she said. Recently a representative from the Kansas State Animal Response Team met with the Golden Belt Humane Society, Barton County Emergency Management and Barton County Health Department to discuss options and local plans for pets and their owners.