MIDLOTHIAN — The Midlothian Soccer Association has partnered with Keep Midlothian Beautiful, Midlothian Parks Department and Allied Waste Services of Itasca to create the a non-residential recycling program at Hawkins Spring Park in Midlothian. Recycle containers will be placed at the park to collect recyclable products including paper, aluminum, plastic and cardboard.

“We noticed that most of the trash at the park was recyclable materials. We decided to reach out to the community and get everyone involved,” said Tim Jackson, association president. “Allied is providing a dumpster and pick up for free. It won’t cost the city or the association anything.”

The soccer season begins in March and representatives from Keep Midlothian Beautiful and volunteers will be on site March 12 and 19 handing out information to make the community aware of the program.

“It also looks like we will be including the FFA to make some permanent receptacles and the high school student council to man a booth at the fields to pass out information. This is turning out to be a real community effort,” Jackson said.

Jim Berman, parks and recreation manager, said the recycling project is a pilot program for the parks department.

“We have the containers in house waiting for the decals and logos. We are working on artwork and anticipate having them out before opening day of soccer. We have 40 plastic barrels for the park – 20 of those will have lids for recycling and 20 will be open for trash,” Berman said, estimating 90 percent of waste generated at the soccer complex is recyclable. “We were replacing our trash containers because the bottoms had rusted out. Now we have the opportunity to turn that into an attempt to move more toward recycling. If we can get that 90 percent recycled, then we won’t have any cost involved with waste out there.”

Keep Midlothian Beautiful chairperson Linda Lanier said they learned that the soccer association was interested in starting a recycling program at Hawkins Springs last fall.

“The reason for our involvement is because the mission of Keep Midlothian Beautiful is to develop and implement ongoing beautification, litter prevention and recycling programs,” Lanier said. “Our hope is this recycling effort will prove to be very successful and will lead to more recycling opportunities in Midlothian. This could be the start of great things to come.”

In January a meeting was organized by KMB to bring together public works, parks and recreation, Midlothian Soccer Association and Allied Waste Services to create the community recycling program. The city and soccer association agreed to work with Allied to determine the best method for collecting the recycled materials, Lanier said.

“Allied Waste Services of Itasca has partnered with the city of Midlothian for many years as their solid waste and collection disposal company,” said Pat Moriarty, division manager for Allied Waste and KMB board member. “Allied Waste Services has offered to provide a free 8-cubic yard recycle container initially serviced once a week for the parks and recreation department to be used by the Midlothian Soccer Association.”

Moriarty said this is a trial and may very well evolve into more containers or more service.

“The reason we are offering this is because we want to be good corporate citizens actively involved in helping the community of Midlothian. We see this as a major green initiative that diverts recyclables from our landfills to our recycle facilities,” Moriarty said.

Contact Rebecca at rebecca.hertz@wninews.com or call 469-517-1451.