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.
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.
These CSA’s are currently open and offering pickup! You can check Local Harvest for more info on these and other options.
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!
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!
Thrift store finder
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.
Amazon Second Chance – learn about their recycling and other sustainable programs
Apple – device trade in
Best Buy – electronics trade-in
H&M – clothes and shoes
Levi’s – clothing
Lush – return empty pots
Nike – Shoes
Patagonia – clothing
Staples – Ink cartridges
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.
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.
Healthy Soil Compost – offers pick-up and has drop-off options
The Urban Canopy – offers pick-up and has drop-off options
Resource Center Chicago – drop-off available at Logan Square Farmer’s Market
General Recycling Resources
Textile/Plush Toy Recycling
Thrift stores should be your first choice, or maybe try putting items on a Facebook freebox group (which seem to be restricted by neighborhood) or Craigslist. However, sometimes your items are beyond passing on to others and just need to find a completely new life. If you have old clothes, bedding or plush toys try the resources listed below.
Chicago Textile Recycling
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
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:
If you’re considering green building/renovations:
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.