GIRARD — Several local residents showed up at Tuesday’s Crawford County Commission meeting to speak in support of Southeast Kansas Recycling, Inc., which recently requested funding from the county to keep its operations up and running.

Bert Patrick, of Pittsburg, said that recycling reduces the amount of trash that has to go into the landfill.

“The bulk of those items that we do take to the Recycling Center are non-biodegradable, and those items as a consequence are just going to be in that landfill for decades and decades,” Patrick said, “and long-term we don’t know the actual effect that that does have in terms of contaminating the soil or in terms of affecting the water table.”

Patrick added that the Southeast Kansas Recycling Center provides employment for some county residents. It’s “not a huge number of people, you know, who actually work there, but it does provide some employment for them,” he said.

Wayne Bockelman, a Pittbsurg resident and former president of the Sperry-Galligar Audubon Society, also spoke in favor of SEK Recycling, discussing some of the creative ways people find to reuse materials that others throw away.

“One of the things that we do is build birdhouses and sell them to the public,” Bockelman said. “We can do it cheaply, we volunteer our labor, and the Recycle Center has been in the business of refurbishing pallets. Some boards are small enough that they can’t be used to rebuild them, so that’s waste that would go to the landfill or be burned, and in fact I think they don’t burn lumber at the burn site, so those went to Sperry-Galligar. We constructed birdhouses out of them.”

Jim Brumfield of Pittsburg said that recycling locally has an impact on the broader environment.

“I’m not going to go into a lot of examples about what’s happening in the world, but I do think that this is a global effort which it is part of my duty to contribute to, it’s not just a habit,” Brumfield said.

“I would be in favor of a tax, a small tax to help sustain this effort,” he added.

Pittsburg resident Bill Bradrick, meanwhile, spoke briefly in favor of SEK Recycling’s work in general.

“I’m quite in favor of everything the Recycling Center has done up to now,” he said.

Commissioner Tom Moody said he appreciated SEK Recycling’s supporters for making their voices heard at the meeting.

“ I’d like to thank you gentlemen for being so passionate about recycling, and it’s a great thing and we need to make sure somehow that we keep it going there, and I think we’re all in agreeance on that,” Moody said. “We haven’t quite figured out how to do it yet.”

The Crawford County Commission has a work session scheduled for Friday, May 3, with Jim Triplett of SEK Recycling to further discuss what the county might be able to do to assist the non-profit recycling organization.