Resources

Below are some links that I’ve found helpful and informative whenever I’ve been looking for resources on sustainable living, zero waste, bulk buying, recycling, composting, sustainable home renovation/upgrades, etc in the Chicago area and online.

Whenever I find something useful, I add it to the list. Hopefully, these links will help you out. I’m trying to keep it updated if I missed anything or you have any suggestions please feel free to contact me at gette(@)greensourcechicago.com.

Sadly, a few of these resources have closed down but they still have valuable information on their sites. Disclosure: I don’t get any funding from any of these sites (or anywhere at all!), I just want to make a sustainable lifestyle easy for you to achieve.

National Air Toxics Assessment

The 2014 NATA Map application lets you display risks, emissions, and other NATA data on a map. Click on the Map link on the overview page.

NATA overview

Where to buy bulk:

Buying in bulk is such an important step if you’re trying to reduce plastic or waste in general. Buy in bulk, make your own mixes, make food from scratch, it’s easier than you might think!

Fresh Thyme — Huge selection including oils, sweeteners, and soaps.
Mariano’s
Dill Pickle Co-op
Whole Foods

Online zero waste shops and places to buy items for your zero waste needs:

Isn’t it crazy that it’s still so difficult to find some zero waste essentials like reusable straws, bulk bags or reusable sandwich bags? Or what about just ordering items without plastic/disposable packaging? You don’t have to dream about it, it’s all right here!

Mighty Nest
Wild Minimalist
Reuse It
Package Free
Life Without Plastic
Zero Waste items on Etsy

Thrift store finder

Thrift store map

Retail stores that take back for recycling:

I mean, if you’re going to buy something new you might as well trade in the thing you’re replacing.

Apple – device trade in
Best Buy – electronics trade-in
H&M – clothes and shoes
Levi’s – clothing
Lush – return empty pots
Aveda
Nike – Shoes
Patagonia – clothing
Staples – Ink cartridges

Farmer’s Markets:

Find a Chicago farmer’s market near you

Community Garden Info:

If you don’t have space to garden in your home/yard maybe you can join a community garden. Here are some links to help find one near you.

Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm
Chicago Community Gardens
Chicago Urban Agriculture Mapping Project (CUAMP)
Neighbor Space
Peterson Garden Project

Composting

Do you want to compost, but you live in an apartment with no place to set up a composter? No problem! Here are some options.

Collective Resource
Healthy Soil Compost – offers pick-up and has drop-off options
The Urban Canopy – offers pick-up and has drop-off options
WasteNot Compost
Resource Center Chicago – drop-off available at Logan Square Farmer’s Market

Chicago Recycling for Electronics and other waste:

Household Chemicals and Computer Recycling Facility
Chicago Assets Recycling – Drop-off areas
City of Chicago Recycling Drop-off areas 
North Park Village Recycling Station
It’s hard to find info on this place so I’m listing it below. This was our go-to place before the blue bin rollout and we still take stuff there when we have large amounts to recycle. A bonus is that it’s located in the beautiful North Park Nature Center/Peterson Park area and you’re likely to see a family of deer as you’re dropping off your waste. I highly suggest taking a walk around the park. It’s one of my favorite places in Chicago!
5801 N Pulaski
(773) 821-1351
Accepts scrap metal, aluminum & stainless steel cans; junk mail, newspaper, magazines, catalogs, cardboard, high grade paper, phone books, brown bags & office paper; glass; #1and #2 plastics.
Also has a book mobile – take or leave books
7 days a week: 9:00 am – 5:00 pm
FreeGeekChicago – a not-for-profit community organization that recycles used computers and parts to provide functional computers, education, internet access and job skills training to those who want them.

Chicago General Resources:

The Resource Center
Center for Neighborhood Technology
Sustainable Backyards-This program has ended but you might find some useful info on their site.

Vermicomposting:

Nature’s Little Recyclers
Urban Worm Girl

If you’re considering green building/renovations:

Chicago Solar Express
Illinois Residential Incentives
Rebuilding Exchange
Sustainable Chicago
Elevate Energy

Consumer Info:

Healthy Stuff
Environmental Working Group
Illinois EPA

Cook County Info:

Cook County Sustainability blog

Misc:

Where to find Compost
Healthy Places
SCARCE
Illinois Recycling Association
Avoid BPA and toxins in plastics

Greywater:

Nuvale Products

Carpet Recycling:

Exhibitors Carpet

Weddings:

Green Wedding Alliance
Naturally Yours Events