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November 15, 1999

First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan Opens Traveling "Treasure Trunks"

SPRINGFIELD -- First Lady Lura Lynn Ryan today helped Illinois celebrate America Recycles Day by opening two "treasure trunks" containing recycled-content products that have been traveling around the state.

Mrs. Ryan launched the two trunks on their statewide journeys at this year's Illinois State Fair. One trunk traveled north, the other south. At each of 52 prearranged destinations, a recipient placed a locally-purchased recycled product in the trunk. The treasure trunks' three-month, 3,200-mile trip highlighted the availability of products made with recycled materials.

"The assortment of items contained in the trunks shows there are plenty of options for consumers who want to buy recycled-content products," Mrs. Ryan said. "The more we can raise awareness about the importance of buying recycled goods, the more demand there will be for discarded glass, paper and plastic, which is crucial to the success of recycling efforts."

Among the many items contained in the trunks, Mrs. Ryan discovered re-refined motor oil, stained glass sun catchers, kitty litter, a plastic medical waste container and a wide variety of paper products all made from recycled materials. Many of the products placed in the trunks were made in Illinois. The trunks will continue to be used at presentations and workshops to educate people about recycled-content products.

The Department of Commerce and Community Affairs' (DCCA) Bureau of Energy and Recycling coordinated the event and the treasure trunks' journey across Illinois.

"The recycled-content products found in the trunks shows that recycling not only helps the environment, it also helps the economy," DCCA Director Pam McDonough said. "It's estimated that diverting recyclables from landfills has helped create 10,000 new jobs in Illinois and accounts for more than a billion dollars worth of commerce in the state."

Through the efforts of communities, businesses, schools and individuals, the recycling rate for Illinois stands at 25 percent. That number continues to climb, mainly due to the fact that younger generations are more aware of the benefits of recycling.

Five Illinois schools were represented at the Illinois State Museum when Mrs. Ryan opened the trunks. Each school had a display that showcased how students have supported recycling and waste reduction. Participating schools were Glenwood Junior High School, Chatham; Rushville High School, Rushville; Normal Community High School, Normal; Alan Shepard School, Bourbonnais; and Johns Hill Magnet School, Decatur. Weyerhaeuser, one of Illinois' largest paper recyclers, also loaned the museum a mobile display on paper recycling for the event.

The theme for this year's America Recycles Day in Illinois is "Be a Better Buyer, Buy Recycled!" In addition to local events, national organizers have planned a sweepstakes in which recycled products will be given away. The grand prize will be a new home made with recycled building materials.

For more information on recycled products or America Recycles Day events in your area, call DCCA's Bureau of Energy and Recycling at 217/785-2800 (TDD: 217/785-0211).


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