Resource Center

For 35 years, the Resource Center, a non-profit environmental education organization, has led the way in demonstrating innovative techniques for recycling and reusing materials.

Too often in the urban setting, abundant and important resources are wasted. In our recovery work we aim to reverse waste and to improve the quality of life for urban dwellers. We have been devoted from the beginning to the economic and educational revitalization of city neighborhoods through recycling, urban gardening, composting, and other programs that reclaim and reuse resources.

Clean Stream Recycling Program

The Resource Center began as a recycling operation over 35 years ago. It was the organization’s first instance of finding value in overlooked resources, not only material but also people looking for work. As Chicago’s first and largest non-profit recycler, the Resource Center operates community drop-off sites, and recycling services throughout the city. There’s a difference in recycling options, a difference in commitment. The Resource Center guarantees that they will recycle 99% of the materials we pick up. It’s the only recycler working in Chicago who offers that service.

In “Recycling Reconsidered,” Professor McBride of MIT states that municipal recycling only prevents one-third of trash from ending in landfills. This is partly because people are not recycling everything they can and partly because throwing all recyclables together, especially plastics doesn’t work well. Contact Mike McNamee to find out more about our complete recycling services.

Residential Recycling Service

Single-family homes, condos and apartments weekly collection services

Commercial Recycling Service

Schools, universities, restaurants, museums and a variety of businesses with recycling collection services

Drop-Off and Buy-Back Sites

North Park Village Recycling Station

5801 North Pulaski Road
Chicago, Illinois 60646
(773) 821-1351
Hours:  9–5 pm daily

We accept cardboard and food packaging, newspapers, white paper, office paper and shredded paper, brown and yellow glass, green and blue glass, clear glass (no windows, drinking glasses, nothing ‘treated’), plastics #1,#2,#3, #4, #5, #7.*

Uptown Recycling Station

4716 North Sheridan Road
Chicago, Illinois 60640
(773) 821-1351
Hours: 12–5 pm
Closed Tuesdays

We accept cardboard and food packaging, newspapers, white paper, office paper and shredded paper, brown and yellow glass, green and blue glass, clear glass (no windows, drinking glasses, nothing ‘treated’).*

Railyard Buyback Center

1325 East 70th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
(773) 493-1470
Hours: 9–3 pm
Closed Saturdays and Sundays

We accept cardboard and food packaging, newspapers, white paper, office paper and shredded paper, brown and yellow glass, green and blue glass, clear glass (no windows, drinking glasses, nothing ‘treated’).*

Please be mindful of all posted instructions and only drop materials in the bins provided and during posted hours. Each site needs everyone’s cooperation with our sorting and placement guidelines. Additional information can be found at Chicago Recycling Coalition. See below for disposal of hazardous waste.

*Disposing of Hazardous Waste

Hazardous waste materials, such as electronics, paint, batteries and oil should be taken to:
City of Chicago Family Hazardous Drop-off Facility
1150 N. Branch Street
(two blocks east of Kennedy Expressway at Division Street)

City Farm Programs

City Farm transforms fallow, vacant city land into fertile, productive farmland. We integrate education, land reuse, local investment and jobs, community beautification and healthier agriculture and eating. Our method is successful, it is replicable and it is sustainable.

The benefits are tangible: Instead of an acre of crumbling cement and overgrown weeds we create a viable farm that produces 20,000 pounds of heirloom tomatoes, arugula, beets, carrots, kale, collards, herbs and more per acre. And jobs, we create 3-4 full-time jobs per acre and seasonal work as well.

The benefits are environmental: We pursue full-cycle chemical-free farming, from food scrap composting to small plot intensive production all the while adding beauty, hope and value to the neighborhood. With every parcel of land we farm, we seal ‘old’ Chicago off, and grow in our own fertile compost. It is an efficient, cost-effective way, that allows us to be productive and portable. When land we currently farm becomes valuable for other purposes, we can transport all of our growing material: compost, hoop houses, chicken coop and beehives, to the next location.

Urban Farming

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City Farm establishes farms using available land, creates compost from food waste and other by-products of our urban environment, and sells organically-produced vegetables at farm stands, farmers markets, through CSAs and to restaurants.

Urban agriculture can be one of the best anchors for community redevelopment. We are actively looking for opportunities to expand. Our ideal parcel is one acre or larger, available for at least 3-5 years.

Food-to-Farm Composting

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City Farm’s Food-to-Farm service picks up food scraps from restaurants and other institutions and turns them into the essential ingredient to successful farming: compost. Without the proper nutritious growing material, no urban farm can be successful.

Chicago generates over 2,000 tons of food waste every day. The creation and use of nutrient-rich compost not only insures the supply of the basic building block of an organic practices farming system but it also insures the conservative use of water.

Table-to-Farm Composting
Now your household can participate in our program. Click here to read more about our Table-to-Farm compost service now available through the Logan Square Farmer’s Market. Email questions to cityfarm@resourcecenterchicago.org.

Food Rescue

As Americans we throw out tons of consumable food every day, nutritious food that goes directly to landfills, passing by people who could benefit. Food Rescue alters this path.

We provide a direct link from restaurants, grocers and markets to shelters and food pantries that can make sure good food gets put on plates in front of hungry people. We currently supply fresh food for 40,000 meals per month.

Other City Farm Programs

Firewood Sales
We sell sustainable oak to restaurants. Email us for more information about delivery and pricing.

Community Garden Consulting
We can help your group get set for a productive season. We work with organizations, schools, hospitals and individuals to structure crop planning, compost practices and more.

The Mission

“We need to create an alternative to using and discarding resources, of turning our backs on people. It has to be on a scale that can’t be dismissed, and that showcases the pleasure and beauty of living life sustainably.”

— Ken Dunn, founder of Resource Center

City Farm’s roots are with the Resource Center, a not-for-profit environmental education organization that strives to improve the quality of life in Chicago by finding new life and uses for underused and overlooked resources. For over 35 years the Resource Center has demonstrated innovative techniques for recycling and reusing materials.

Too often in the urban setting, abundant and important resources are wasted. In its recovery work, the Resource Center aims to reverse waste and to improve the quality of life for our communities. The Resource Center has been devoted from its beginning to the economic and educational revitalization of city neighborhoods through recycling, urban farming, composting, and other programs that reclaim and reuse resources.

The Resource Center is interested in social enterprise, that is programs that are revenue generating and mission-driven. While the Resource Center strives to be economically self-sustaining it relies on donations for the remaining amount.