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Larned Recycling Center provides public service
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Photo by Jim Misunas Great Bend Tribune Jayne Torrez serves as the sanitation superintendent for the city of Larned. Torrez spends more than half her time on recycling work.

By Jim Misunas

LARNED — Business is always picking up for the Larned Recycling Center.
The Larned Recycling Center sponsored Thursday’s Chamber of Commerce coffee as part of American Recycling Day scheduled later this month.
The Larned Recycling Center, under the direction of Jayne Torrez, sanitation superintendent, spends a portion of time working on recycling as part of their week. Torrez invests more than half of her time on recycling work. Her employees are Rick Reason, Larry Burris, Jr. and Brad Cavanaugh.
The weight of recycled items has continued to grow the past few years, according to Torrez.
“The citizens of Larned are doing a good job recycling,” Torrez said. “Whenever you maintain a recycling service, it’s totally up to the citizens to use it.” 
Many of the items are shipped for recycling. Most of the paper and plastic products are shipped to Stutzman Refuse in South Hutchinson. Cardboard items are shipped to Sunoco. Cans are used by Acme Scrap. Sunflower Diversified handled hardbook items.  The city of Larned is reimbursed at a rate of $45 per ton for cardboard items.
Members of the Larned Recycling Committee are Torrez, Rod Wheaton, Felix Revello, Kathy Jadwin, Jane Zook and Casey Smith. The committee members provide input, support and direction for the recycling program.
Revello spoke in behalf of the committee by emphasizing that recycling is about maintaining the world’s resources. Any recycling is a positive step for preserving the world’s resources. To give an example, Rod Wheaton, Pawnee County solid waste supervisor, said it’s estimated that 80 percent of the concrete being removed at the Pawnee Valley Community Hospital will be reused.
“Recycling is about sustainability and using resources today that don’t compromise future generations,” he said.
 Huge recycling bins are clearly marked and can be used anytime at 831 East 14th Street on the east edge of Larned. Anyone can drop off items from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
Larned launched its recycling program in the late 1990s when the city was successful on Kansas Department of Health and Environment grants that helped pay for construction of a building and equipment.
Even today, it’s estimated that just about 25 percent of plastic bottles are recycled.
The plant recycles all types of plastic bottles, including milk, pop, water and juice. Lids should be removed and bottles should be rinsed, cleaned and contain no liquid. Otherwise, the sanitation staff or volunteers spend time removing bottle caps.
“If citizens help us out, that saves us a lot of work that we have to do manually,” Torrez said.
Other items recycled are newspapers, magazines, phone books, paper, cardboard boxes, tin and aluminum cans and glass bottles and jars. All plastic packaging and Styrofoam filler should be removed.
The Pawnee County landfill has also conducted successful household hazardous waste disposal twice a year.