Reuse Centers

ReUse centers are very special places. They accept all kinds of materials that no one else would look at. At a reuse center, you may find scraps of foam core, piles of ribbons, boxes of broken crayons. Or maybe paint and tile leftover from a construction project. Or textbooks that are still usable but have been replaced by a newer edition. Artists love the Creative Reuse Warehouse. Rehabbers love Habitat for Humanity’s Habitat ReStores. (The nearest one to Chicago is in Chicago Heights.) And teachers look on SCARCE as a treasure trove. 

Creative Reuse Warehouse – The Creative Reuse Warehouse was established by Chicago’s Resource Center to save usable materials from going into the landfill and redistribute them back into the community. In particular it provides a valuable resource for artists and educators, helping them find affordable supplies for their classes and projects. The inventory changes constantly, but typical materials available include textiles, ribbon, tile, wood, wire, foam core, and office supplies. For only $4.00, you can fill a grocery bag full of materials – and they even have the bags on hand. Specialty items are priced individually. Donations are welcome. The warehouse accepts surplus goods, supplies, equipment, remnants, samples, and seconds. As the warehouse is run by the not-for-profit Resource Center, all donations are tax-deductible. Call first, if you have questions. Please note that the warehouse is no longer located on O’Brien Street near the old Maxwell Street Market. When the University of Illinois at Chicago took over the land, the entire neighborhood was lost to condos and new dormitories. Faced with demolition, the warehouse relocated to the main office address of the Resource Center, and the staff is currently looking for a more central location to better serve all of Chicago. Still, it’s worth the drive to make a visit. The Resource Center is Chicago’s oldest not-for-profit recycling organization, providing recycling, reuse, food recovery, urban gardening, and composting opportunities throughout the city. For more information, click here.222 E. 135th PlaceChicago, IL 60627(773) 821-1351Hours:Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.Saturday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.Closed Sundays

SCARCE – SCARCE is a remarkable organization run by a powerhouse of a woman, Kay McKee. It all started when she noticed hundreds of textbooks sitting on school shelves. She knew they were going slowly out of date and would end up in a landfill. She also knew that there were schools that would be thrilled to have them. That’s how Book Rescue began.Now SCARCE has six Rescue Programs — Book Rescue, Tools For Schools, Super Crayon Project, Gym Shoe Rescue, Cell Phone Rescue & Inkjet Cartridge Rescue. The Book Rescue and the Tools For Schools Programs divert books and other school & office supplies from landfills and providing them to schools, organizations & children in need. SCARCE will also connect people who have an item to donate with a group that needs it. They’ve already placed 15 pianos.The organization is almost entirely volunteer and is supported by private donations. Speakers from SCARCE will come out to your school or community group help educate you about recycling, and there are workshops for students and teachers.