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Sunflower Diversified expands on recycling services in Larned
sunflower recyling
James Potter, left, and Steven Clarke transfer cardboard from a recycling-collection unit at Larned State Hospital to a truck. Potter and Clarke are clients of Sunflower Diversified Services, which is expanding its recycling operation in the city of Larned.

               LARNED – When the city of Larned recently decided an outside entity could more efficiently provide recycling services in town, Sunflower Diversified didn’t hesitate to assume the responsibility.

            As of June 1, Sunflower Recycling will begin to collect recyclables that are placed in bins at the city-owned building at the east edge of Larned on Highway 56/156.

            Jim Johnson, Sunflower executive director, said the non-profit agency has a history of expanding its recycling venture and jumped at the chance to accommodate Larned residents.

            Sunflower serves infants, toddlers and adults with developmental disabilities and delays in Barton, Pawnee, Rice, Rush and Stafford counties. Its recycling operation is just one of its business ventures that provides jobs to people with disabilities.

“There will be a few changes in the Larned service but we trust local residents will continue to be good recyclers,” Johnson said. “In the past, at least one city employee was at the building during regular hours of operation.

“However,” he continued, “patrons now will be asked to use the self-serve bins at this same location at their convenience. The bins will be moved to the south side of the building to protect them from the north wind.”

Johnson noted that Sunflower is eager to add the city to its other Larned recycling sites. These include Larned State Hospital, Larned Correctional Mental Health Facility and the school district.

“We also have been serving private businesses in Larned for quite some time and want to further expand this pick-up service,” Johnson noted. “Local businesses are strongly encouraged to contact us to learn about our pick-up route schedule.

“We wish we could offer residential pick-up,” Johnson said. “But that just isn’t feasible.”

Sunflower Recycling employs a few staff members but the agency’s clients comprise a large majority of the workforce.

“While we are pleased to offer a community service whenever we can, one of our main priorities is creating job options for people with developmental disabilities,” Johnson said. “This expanded service in Larned will help us do that.

“The people we serve enjoy the rewards of earning paychecks,” Johnson added. “They want and deserve the same options for independent living as anyone else. And jobs enable our clients to spend money locally and rent homes from community landlords.”

For more recycling information, call 620-792-1321.