Making a Difference in Chicago

Day 361 – Chicago has its fair share of problems. Crime, unethical politicians and the current state of our sports teams, are just a few of the challenges that residents face. Thankfully, their are plenty of amazing and wonderful things happening in the city as well. In today’s post I wanted to share information on a few organizations that are making a positive influence on the people of Chicago and the planet as a whole.

Plant Chicago

“We equip people and businesses with the tools to live more sustainably through community-driven, hands-on programs and innovative research projects. We are now in the process of renovating an abandoned firehouse as a center for circular economy programming in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on the southwest side of Chicago.” – Plant Chicago


Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange is a nonprofit organization committed to the creative reuse and redistribution of surplus materials for arts, non-profit, education in the Chicago-area.

Community Glue Workshop

Inspired the repair cafe movement in Amsterdam, Community Glue Workshop’s goals are to divert repairable items from the waste stream (or repurpose them if need be), encourage critical thinking, debunk the relentless myth that newer is better and foster community.” Community Glue Workshop

The Chicago Tool Library

The Chicago Tool Library opened in fall of 2019. Located on the southwest side of Chicago, in the Bridgeport neighborhood, our non-profit lending library houses over 2,500 items that range from basic hand tools and table saws to ice cream makers and camping equipment. We are a forward-thinking organization hoping to help our city reshape its relationship to ownership, consumption, and creativity.” – The Tool Library

Chicago Green Theater Alliance

The Chicago Green Theatre Alliance was founded in 2014 with a mission to encourage, educate, and motivate theatres and theatre professionals to work together to adopt more environmentally-friendly practices.” – Chicago Green Theater Alliance

The Chicago Green Theater routinely hosts events that help the environment. They host textile and e-waste recycling drives, along with helping the theater industry adopt more sustainable practices.

There are so many more people doing great things in your community. Make it point to seek them out and support them any way you can.

Tomorrow, inspiring the youth to make a difference.

Sustainable Holiday Gift Guide

Day 335 – You may be already done with your holiday shopping. Or you haven’t even started. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a great idea to purchase gifts that will help people and the environment. Not only will you feel good giving special gifts to family and friends, but you can feel good that your gift will have a positive impact on the planet.

Here are 15 ideas from posts that I have written this year.

  1. Day 21Blueland – eco-friendly cleaning products
  2. Day 152 – Eco-friendly Toys
  3. Day 164 – Sustainable Phone Cases
  4. Day 178 – Eco-friendly Sunglasses
  5. Day 193 – Clothing made from recycled plastic
  6. Day 199 – Zero Waste Makeup Brands
  7. Day 205Igloo EcoCoolers
  8. Day 237 – Eco-friendly Yoga Mats
  9. Day 240Looptworks – Upcycled gifts
  10. Day 257Lost Golf Balls – used and recycled golf balls
  11. Day 272 – Sustainable Pet Products
  12. Day 293Green Goo – Skin care derived from plants
  13. Day 300EcoSports – Eco-friendly sporting equipment
  14. Day 324Rumpl – Eco-friendly blankets
  15. Day 327MC Squares – reusable sticky notes

Other great options include:

  1. Earth Hero – variety of Earth-friendly gifts
  2. UNICEF Market
  3. Certified B Corporation gift guide
  4. Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange – gifts for the artists in your life
  5. 4Ocean – gifts that help clean the oceans
  6. Gift card to commercial composting service
  7. Climate Pledge Products on Amazon

One more list to help you out:

20 Awesome Holiday Gifts that Help the Planet

Tomorrow, giving a gift donation.

Art Supplies: Donating your surplus

Day 105 – It’s World Art Day! So, what better way to celebrate than to donate your extra art supplies to awesome organizations that make sure that artists, both young and old, have the supplies they need. Also, on this list are organizations looking for items you may have around your house and would most likely throw away.

There are many organizations to choose from in the Chicago area.

Art Makers Outpost -609 South Boulevard, Evanston, IL 60202

“The Art Makers Outpost combines environmental consciousness with guided project based and free form art creation to encourage awareness of material usage and emphasize reuse . Each artist working at The Outpost is a unique, individual, artistic human, coming to work on their craft. All art made at the Outpost is created by repurposing items sourced from the waste & excess collected from our community & organizational partners, individuals & local businesses. The Art Makers Outpost is a place for freedom of self expression and exploration.” – Art Makers Outpost

Click HERE to find a list of their accepted items.

Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange – 2124 W. 82nd Place, Chicago (warehouse location)

“A 501c3 nonprofit that solicits donations of surplus materials, equipment and supplies for teachers and non-profit organizations. We promote creativity and environmental stewardship. Our goal is to educate and empower the public to reduce waste, rethink surplus, and share. We do this through creative reuse programming, events and workshops. Our belief is that ‘trash is just a failure of imagination.'” – Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange

Click HERE to find a list of their accepted items.

Creative Pitch

“Creative Pitch is a Chicago-area nonprofit that gathers those unwanted art materials and makes them available – free of charge – to the art educators, art therapists and other professionals who need them most. It is a low effort/high reward way for companies and individuals in the Chicago area to come together and make a difference.” – Creative Pitch

Click HERE to find a list of accepted items.

Inklude Studio – 2302 Wisconsin Ave, Downers Grove, IL 60515

“Inklude Studio is a non-profit 501(c)(3), community based, art and design studio. We provide an open, creative, and collaborative studio environment for adult artists with autism and other developmental disabilities. Artists who participate in our studio program have the opportunity to earn income from the sale of their creative work. Our studio program is artist directed. Artists develop their own projects and make decisions regarding exhibition and sales opportunities. Our goal is to have studio artists included in as much of the studio’s operations as possible – so they may develop practical business skills; as well as, develop their creative skills.” – Inklude Studio

Click HERE to find a list of accepted items.

SCARCE – 800 S. Rohlwing Rd (Route 53), Unit D, Addison, IL 60101

“SCARCE is an award-winning environmental education non-profit dedicated to creating sustainable communities. We accomplish this through innovative and hands-on education programs for schools and organizations, demonstrating care for people and our natural resources through our Reuse Center, and engaging the broader public through community-wide events and programs.” – SCARCE

Click HERE to find a list of accepted items.

Upcycling Colors – 1730 N Clark Street, Chicago IL 60614

Upcycling Colors is not currently collecting, but keep them on your radar!

“We rescue leftover (used/new) art, craft and school supplies. We transform them into like-new treasures and bring them to underserved communities.” – Upcycling Colors

When they are collecting again, click HERE to find a list of accepted items.

The Wasteshed – 2842 W Chicago Ave, Chicago IL.

“The Wasteshed is a creative reuse center in Chicago. We collect reusable art and school materials that would otherwise be thrown away. We then make them available to teachers, artists, and anyone who needs them, at a low cost.” – The Wasteshed

Click HERE to find a list of accepted items.

So, before you throw out something, check out the various lists. Your trash may just be someone else’s masterpiece.

Tomorrow, proper disposal of your contact lenses.