ABC's of Recycling,

O is for Odds & Ends

Feb 28 2023

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“Little Things Add Up!”

Smart recycling is all about thinking before you toss. No matter what you’re about to throw in the garbage, pause and ask yourself: Can this be used again? Can someone else use it, if I can’t? Or, is there somewhere I can take this, to give it another life?

Many “odds and ends” can find another life through a special collection. SCARCE is a collection site for several unique odds & ends, but watch for other collections happening at your local businesses, community centers, schools and places of worship.

Creating a special collection helps educate the community about a need as well as encouraging smart recycling habits. Collections can be organized by anyone! In addition to keeping materials out of landfill, some collections help protect wildlife and waterways. Some help drive business to consider the environmental impact of their products or packaging. All of them help keep materials in use and out of the waste stream.

And that adds up to a good feeling all around!

Special Collections In & Around DuPage County


In addition to books, music and school supplies, SCARCE collects many odds & ends! For a current list, visit our website’s “Items Accepted” page. Here’s a partial list to get you started:

Plastic bread tags are another special collection item!
Plastic can carriers like these can be dropped at SCARCE for recycling.
  • solid plastic can carriers
  • plastic bread tags
  • prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses
  • hearing aides
  • film canisters
  • keys of all types
  • Brita filters & pitchers
  • toothpaste tubes (empty with the cap on)
  • Dunkin’ coffee bags
  • electrical cords/computer cords
  • musical instruments

Local Eye Doctors/Optometrists

  • Contact Lenses & Cases – contacts go down the drain and are too small to be captured by water filtration machines. Fish and water birds can be harmed by swallowing contacts. Bausch & Lomb is now sponsoring TerraCycle collection for contact lenses and cases. If your local contact source isn’t collecting, try a local drop box option.
  • Used Prescription Glasses can be dropped at local LensCrafters and Pearle Vision, as well as Walmart & Sam’s Club vision Centers.

Lions Clubs

Many pairs of old eye glasses end up being distributed around the world by Lions Club International. In Wheaton, the Lions Club sponsors a collection box at the Wheaton Community Center. Check with your local Lions Club for other locations. Lions Club also accepts:

  • Used Prescription Eyeglasses
  • Hearing Aids
  • Cell Phones
Photo by Rayson Tan on Unsplash

What about Cell Phones and Electronics?

Who doesn’t have an old phone lurking in the back of a drawer? Clear that clutter! There are plenty of great options for keeping cell phones and electronics out of the waste stream.

  • In DuPage County, try EcoATM (most local Walmarts have them,) or contribute to the nature non-profit Eco-Cell by dropping your phone at the Brookfield Zoo.
  • State Representatives Terra Costa Howard in Lombard, Deb Conroy in Villa Park and State Senator Suzy Glowiak in Oakbrook Terrace support support Cell Phones for Soldiers, a non-profit that provides communication services to active duty military and veterans. You can drop old phones at their local offices.

Need more options? Try this list.

Want to start a special collection at home?

Check out TerraCycle, a free recycling program funded by a variety of large brands, which accepts many hard to recycle items including beauty product packaging, coffee capsules (like K-cups) and PPE. Wondering how it works in real life? Here’s a video that gives you a look at the TerraCycle sorting process for beauty products.

Smart Recycling is all about the habit of thinking before you toss. Remember, those “odds and ends” can really add up!

Are You Ready To Do Your Part?

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