Recently we investigated the recycling practices of Carbondale restaurants for an environmental science class at SIUC.

By Gus Bode

Dear Editor:Recently we investigated the recycling practices of Carbondale restaurants for an environmental science class at SIUC. To accomplish our investigation, we constructed a survey that contained 10 questions that addressed the restaurants current recycling practices, their willingness to recycle and any current recycling policies they might have. The restaurants were surveyed by phone and in person during the week of March 10 to March 14.

Based on current “Yellow Pages” listings, we compiled a list of 65 restaurants in Carbondale, 52 of which participated in our survey. The results of the survey were astonishing. We found that only 21 percent of the surveyed restaurants have a recycling policy in place.

Based on the results of the survey we were able to make inferences about the recycling practices of the Carbondale restaurants. These include:A large majority of Carbondale restaurants do not have any recycling policies at their restaurants.


All of the Carbondale restaurants use products that are recyclable, however, very few recycle the products they use.

Fifty percent of the restaurants are not willing to transport recyclable materials to a drop-off location. This despite almost half are willing to spend up to $75 per month to implement a recycling policy at their restaurant. This would include taking advantage of a commercial recycling program provided by their trash removal service.

There are many resources in Carbondale and Jackson County that the restaurant managers could utilize to implement a recycling policy at their business. The Jackson County Health Department offers free consultation and technical assistance to businesses that contact them regarding waste disposal and recycling. We recommend that restaurants contact the Jackson County Health Department for this assistance. We also recommend that these restaurants use a trash service that offers a commercial recycling program. They should also take advantage of the various drop-off locations in Carbondale, including Southern Recycling.

Finally, our investigation also found that the city of Carbondale recycling program does not include any commercial recycling initiatives. We recommend that the city expand their recycling programs to include pick-up or drop-off services for the businesses in the town.

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