Our Mission

We help people discover how easy it can be to make a meaningful difference

for our kids, for our environment, for our future…and often for all three at once.

Dedicated to Education

Our Executor Director, Kay McKeen, started SCARCE (formerly SCRAP) in 1990 and began teaching in DuPage County schools about recycling and other environmental issues and concerns. Kay was out teaching when she realized that many schools had countless textbooks just sitting in storage, taking up space. All the while, the information was becoming obsolete, it was costing the schools money for the books to sit in storage AND they were going to end up in the landfill! Therefore, in 1991 she started the Book Rescue with the idea of “rescuing” gently used books (text, reference and library) from going in the landfill, and instead putting them into the hands of those who need them.

Our Story

  • 1990
  • 1998
  • 2001
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2008
  • 2009

SCARCE Is Founded

Founded and developed two composting programs for schools Outdoor: “Turning Garbage into Gold” Indoors, with worms: “Kids Aren’t the Only Wigglers That Belong In School”

Book Rescue

SCRAP Book Rescue Program is recipient of the Role Model Program Award, from the State of Illinois, Department of Commerce & Community Affairs [CCA] Bureau of Recycling

Presenter, the Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award (one of 4 first-ever presenters)

Outstanding Educators

Illinois Recycling Association’s Recycling Educator of the Year Award.
Founded and developed the Ecology Flag Program; 12 DuPage County schools have earned the Ecology Flag.

Hometown Heros

Received the State of Illinois Hometown Hero Award from Lieutenant Governor, Pat Quinn

A Cleaner Chicago

Joined “Clean Air Counts” initiative to improve air quality in the Chicago metropolitan area.

Promoting Conservation

Received the Business Partner of the Year Award from the Central DuPage AM Rotary.

Received The Conservation Foundation’s Paul Butler Memorial Award, for extraordinary efforts in promoting conservation and the environment through her work with SCARCE.

Floodplain and Stormwater Management

Recipient of the Public Education Award from the Illinois Association for Floodplain and Stormwater Management (IAFSM)

Our Staff

We have a small team of dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate environmentalists working at SCARCE!

View Our Staff

Our Accomplishments

We are proud of our journey. We have accomplished many milestones and received a number of awards, but our biggest triumph is being able to do good for a bigger cause. We strive to keep educating the public about environmental conservation; our work is far from finished!

View Our Accomplishments

How Can YOU Help?

  • Volunteer
  • Donate
  • Recycle
  • Learn
  • Subscribe


Volunteers are needed on an ongoing basis to help run our rescue programs. Volunteers can also assist with one-day community events and special projects.

Register to Volunteer


SCARCE gives away all of its books and school supplies and, thus, depends on donations to pay the rent, utilities, and staff of the Book Rescue, Tools for Schools, Super Crayon Project, and other rescue programs.

Make a Donation

Recycle at SCARCE

SCARCE receives funds for recycling keys, holiday lights, electrical cords & wires, and small metal items. SCARCE also benefits from recycling a variety of items through Terracycle programs.

Learn More


Come to SCARCE for an event, workshop, or program or contact SCARCE to schedule a presentation at your location.

View Calendar


Subscribe to our newsletters to learn about local events, eco tips, and "green" news in the community. You can also follow us on facebook, twitter, and instagram.
Scroll to the bottom of any page to sign up or follow our social media pages.

Are You Ready To Do Your Part?

Volunteer Donate