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Herington Recycling plant could bring 1,400 jobs to area

Staff writer

A Florida company’s plan for a recycling plant at Herington could bring as many as 1,400 new jobs to the area, if everything goes smoothly. There is also a possibility the business could save Marion County money on solid waste disposal.

Waste Not Technologies LLC, of Destin, Fla., identified Herington as a possible site for a recycling and manufacturing facility, Dickinson County Economic Development Coordinator Janelle Dockendorf said Friday. Herington is an enticing location because of its access to railroads and highways, and it is not in a floodplain, she said.

The plant would produce a variety of products made from municipal solid waste, including cellulose insulation and railroad ties, Dockendorf said. The only materials the facility wouldn’t recycle are hazardous wastes.

She anticipates the plant creating demand for supporting businesses, such as truck stops. If the company follows through, neighboring counties — including Marion County — would definitely be affected, she said.

Two things need to happen before the company makes a decision whether to build the facility: the company needs any necessary permits and it needs commitments for solid waste.

Dockendorf said the company needs a commitment for 1,035 tons of waste each day to build at Herington. The county is making preparations to seek commitments from other counties and municipalities.

Marion County sends between 8,000 and 9,500 tons of solid waste to landfills each year, Transfer Station Director Rollin Schmidt said. The county currently pays $31.50 per ton at a landfill in Butler County, but he expects that to increase.

Schmidt said he hadn’t heard whether the company would pay or charge counties to take the solid waste.

If Waste Not Technologies moves forward with the facility, the company would provide training for workers with the help of Kansas Department of Commerce, Dockendorf said. The average pay for facility employees could be $34,000 per year with health and retirement benefits.

“I feel like we couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” she said.

Marion County Economic Development Director Teresa Huffman was positive about the proposed facility on Friday.

“Of course with Herington being very close to Marion County, this could mean jobs for residents — that’s not a bad thing,” she said. “This could be a great thing for our whole region.”

Last modified Nov. 24, 2009

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