The 21st Show

Recycling in Northern IL; Reproductive Health Legislation; IN Dunes National Park; Springfield Food


Peter Kaminski/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

On The 21st: The recycling market has changed in a big way ever since China stopped importing recycled plastic from the US. In Northern Illinois, one recycling group has several tons piled up because there’s no good place for it to go. Plus, it can be hard to have an abortion in the Midwest but Illinois stands out as the state with the fewest barriers in the region. And now, some House Democrats say it’s time to continue expanding access through new legislation. And, we don’t have a national park here in Illinois. But, our neighbors to the east now officially do as of last month. Also, Amanda Vinicky joins us to share her favorite Springfield culinary classics. 

Today about a quarter of all waste in America is recycled. The total amount has been steadily increasing. But there have been some challenges over the past few years. We’ve talked before about how some cities don’t always follow through on recycling. And our reliance on other countries to take our trash and recycling has caused problems as well.

Two years ago the Chinese government banned the importation of certain kinds of plastic. In practice, that’s meant that many places here in the US have been searching for other places to put our plastic and other recyclable materials including, right here in Illinois.

For environmentalists, it’s not just about recycling, it’s about using less. And here in Illinois, environmentalists, including our governor, are hoping to move the needle on using fewer plastic bags in our daily lives, through a tax on shopping bags.

Brian Mackey reported on this for Illinois Public Radio and he joined us from Springfield.

Pam Osborne is the executive director with Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful. She joined us from her office in Rockford.


One out of every five pregnancies in America ends with an abortion. And women who do choose to terminate their pregnancies often have a harder time in the Midwest. One recent study found that our region has the fewest abortion clinics per the number of women of childbearing age. Recently, we’ve also seen more restrictions in neighboring states like Iowa and Missouri.

Illinois is heading in the other direction. We have fewer restrictions compared with our neighbors and in fact, thousands of women already come here from other states to get help with terminating pregnancies. And now, Democrats in the Statehouse have prepared legislation to continue expanding access.

Representative Kelly Cassidy is the lead sponsor behind one of these bills. It’s called the Reproductive Health Act. She represents Illinois’ 14th district, which includes parts of Chicago's north side and parts of Evanston. 

Angie Leventis Lourgos has been reporting on this for the Chicago Tribune. She joined us from their newsroom. 

And -- 

Maybe you haven’t made spring break plans yet. And if you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids, why not head outside and take a trip to what for many of us is our closest national park? Last month, the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on the state’s Northwest corner officially became Indiana Dunes National Park.

There are 61 national parks here in the U.S. but the Dunes is Indiana’s first and only national park. For most of us, it’s the closest one, as there are none here in Illinois or Wisconsin.

And, besides just a name change, the designation will bring more tourists, funding and recognition for the park.

Bruce Rowe joined us on the line from the new National Park. He’s a supervisory park ranger there. 

Also -- 

Amanda Vinicky has been covering state government for over a decade now, which also means she’s been exploring Springfield’s local food for just as long.

Springfield is home to many delicious classics whether it’s the horseshoe, BBQ or Rep. Cheri Bustos’ favorite pizza, there’s no shortage of delicious options.

Story source: WILL