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Gauging Interest in Recycling for Rural McDonough County

Rich Egger

Several organizations are collaborating to determine whether residents in rural parts of McDonough County would like to have access to a recycling program.

“Nothing is happening right now. Recyclables are ending up in the landfill. This data will serve as one of the tools and hopefully an insight into helping direct our local officials,” said Chris Enroth, Horticulture Educator with the Extension office in Macomb.

The data will be collected through an online survey. You can also pick up a hard copy from the Extension office at 3022 West Jackson Street in Macomb.

Carrie McKillip, Community Development Educator for the Extension office in Galesburg, said the survey kicked off in early May and will continue through at least July 1.

“That will give people a chance to share their views, give us time to promote it a little more, and make sure that we have an adequate number (of responses) to do some analysis on,” she said.

McKillip said the results might also help determine whether business opportunities exist.

“Is there enough demand to have a business startup?  Are there incentives for businesses? Are there other models that might be useful?”

Credit Rich Egger
This bench made of recycled bottle caps can be found outside the Macomb High School football & soccer field.

She said a challenge right now is the lack of demand for some recyclable materials and finding new uses for the materials.

JoAnn Hairston-Jones, Co-Chair of the Conservation/Recycling Committee for the Macomb Women’s Club, said the club is trying to help out by finding new uses for old items.

“We collect magazines and take them to McDonough District Hospital. We take used eyeglasses to the Lion’s Club,” she said.

“And we collect plastic bottle caps to donate to the Build a Better Blockproject. It takes 2,000 pounds of plastic caps to make a bench and that project just rolled out 10 benches around the McDonough County area.”

Hairston-Jones said the club also strives to educate children about the importance of recycling and repurposing through school programs and youth activities.

She said in addition to the Macomb Women’s Club and the University of Illinois Extension, those assisting with the survey include the Western Illinois Regional Council, the Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs, the McDonough County Health Department, and the county board.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.