Alabaster park offers ‘a recycling gold mine,’ employee says

Published 11:31 am Monday, October 12, 2009

An Alabaster Parks and Recreation Department employee is seeking to take a greener approach toward waste disposal at one of the city’s largest parks.

As hundreds of visitors crowd into Alabaster’s Veterans’ Park each weekend to relax and attend sporting events, they typically leave behind “hundreds of pounds” of plastic bottles and other recyclable material, according to Mark Medlin, a laborer at the park.

After busy weekends, city employees collect the garbage and ship it to the Shelby County landfill. However, Medlin said the park’s trash bins may be an untapped “gold mine” for a recycling firm.

“Here at Veterans’ Park on a tournament weekend, I can’t even describe how many plastic bottles we haul off to the landfill,” Medlin said. “It’s so much that we don’t really have the manpower to sort through all of it and recycle it.”

Medlin said he felt inspired to draw attention to the park after he read a recycling-related column in the Oct. 10 issue of the Alabaster Reporter.

“It just disturbs me that all of these bottles and things go to the landfill when they could be recycled,” Medlin added. “We aren’t talking about just a little bit. This is literally hundreds and hundreds of pounds every weekend.

“There has been a lot of public outcry over recycling, and so much thought about global warming and the environment, so I’m just tossing the idea out there to see if it leads to anything,” Medlin added. “Besides the environmental benefits, there could be a lot of money out here for a recycling company if they wanted to come out here and sort this stuff.”

The Alabaster employee encouraged anyone interested in pursuing a recycling agreement with the park to call him at 937-5577.