Employee volunteers at MPLX Utica Gathering & Processing are on their way to Gold Star status in Ohio’s Adopt-A-Highway program. The growing group of volunteers is responsible for trash pickup along a two-mile stretch of State Route 78 in Noble County, Ohio, and they are already seeing a major improvement in the amount of litter in the area.
“In 2019, the first time we picked up trash, we had between four and eight volunteers. It took longer for us to pick up as the roadside had not been tended to for quite a while. We collected more than 30 bags of trash,” said Mindy Bird, Administrative Assistant, G&P Operations in the Cadiz/Seneca Division. “Now there are 13 volunteers, and we collected 15 bags of trash during our most recent outing. That’s a huge improvement in the amount of litter we are finding.”
Each team member is required to watch a safety video before the cleanup, and the group starts the day with a safety moment. They usually find a lot of cans, bottles and fast-food bags discarded on the road, along with larger items like tires, empty propane tanks, vehicle parts and clothing. After each cleanup, Bird sends a litter pickup report to ODOT, and crews come to collect the bags of trash.
The volunteer group will earn Gold Star status with ODOT after five years in the program. They are committed to cleaning up their section of the highway and continue to look for other ways to give back to the community. Each year, the group supports the youth’s animal projects at the county fair, donates to the local food pantries and helps clean up at the local park. They also have donated their own money to build dugouts at the local ballpark.
“I’m extremely proud of the way this group has come together to help so many people in this area. And each one of them are so happy to work for a company that allows us to do it,” said Bird. “I don’t think we’ll ever stop thinking of things we can do to support the community.”