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Not the same old grind
Sunflower reports on recycling efforts
new deh county recycle pic
Clay McHenry, Sunflower Recycling supervisor, left, assists Randy Reed, Sunflower client, with the new glass crusher. The recycling center now has a good market for recycled glass products. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

 When Sunflower Diversified Services was awarded $12,000 by the Barton County Commission last year to bolster its recycling efforts, the agency had two goals, SDS Director Jim Johnson said.

First, Sunflower wanted to improve its collection system and second, it wanted to expand services. “We’ve accomplished pretty much everything we’ve wanted to accomplish,” he said.

Johnson was addressing the commission Monday morning, offering a report on how SDS utilized the county’s funds. 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.

In the past year, SDS has purchased another truck to help with picking up recyclable materials from businesses. It also expanded services to Larned and Pawnee County, adding Larned State Hospital, Larned schools and other businesses as customers. 

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

A company is taking the un-ground glass off SDS’s hands. But, Johnson said that market is glutted and this option may go away.

Enter the grinder that is keeping glass out of the landfill. “To date, we’ve processed 28 tons of glass,” he said.

Half of that material is being set aside for use by the Barton County Road and Bridge Department for use as a sand replacement. The rest will be used by Sunflower for driveways and parking lots.

Now, Johnson said they are about caught up with the surplus glass they had stored and are ready to take more. But, “we’re not getting as much more as we’d like to.”

“This is a great opportunity for the landfill,” Hathcock said. “Sunflower Diversified does a good job.”

The commission last year awarded a total of $17,700 for recycling efforts. It gave $12,000 to Sunflower and $5,700 to Kans for Kids so it could purchase additional receptacles for aluminum cans and other items.

Representatives of Kans for Kids were unable to attend the Monday meeting.

In a related matter, in the 2015 budget, the commission released the $15,000 for local recycling to be used by local providers. Now, the county will begin advertising for applicants.

 Eligible to apply include are any county department, agency, organization, recycling center, city, school district or community college located in Barton County. To be eligible, the application 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.”

Hathcock said applications will be accepted through Monday, June 22. 

The landfill is self-supporting through user fees, so money for the grant does not come from tax dollars.