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Recycling rundown

Southern Recycling 1

Tasis Karayiannis, owner of Southern Recycling, illuminates bales of mixed plastic recyclables inside his Carbondale facility.

Early this year I was fascinated to find that the global recycling downturn was causing major harm in Southern Illinois. I found tens of thousands of pounds of plastic piling up at an area recycler who could find no one willing to repurpose the materials. More disturbing still, I found our state government ignores its own recycling laws, allowing poor, rural Southern Illinois counties to lag far behind national standards.

I thought my stories “Rural recycling low, but growing in Southern Illinois” and “Recycling roller-coaster: Ups and downs in Williamson County,” asked readers to grapple with an essential civic question: Will we ever start treating recycling as a public good that deserves meaningful investment? Or will we continue to ignore the industry’s problems?

Read the series: The state of recycling in Southern Illinois

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