ZeroLandfill gives design scraps new life

November 9, 2012 (CHICAGO)

ZeroLandfill is not just the name of the organization that wants to make positive use of design scraps -- it's also their mission. So far, they've diverted more than 800,000 pounds of sample materials from landfills and they hope your efforts to live green will help them top the million mark.

So what happens to all those fabric swatches that an interior designer or furniture store might use to help you decide on a new pattern or texture? Perhaps they can be fashioned into a new apron. And what about laminate chips used to offer flooring samples? A group of school children saw the potential for Christmas ornaments.

"Carpet samples, wall coverings, tile, wood, glass, fabric any of that stuff that people specify on design projects those patterns get retired," said ZeroLandfill Chicago's Cortney Schiappa. "They become unpopular or they just move on to something else. Then those samples get thrown away."

ZeroLandfill is a national non-profit volunteer organization that gathers those samples and encourages the public to find creative ways to repurpose them. There's a wide range of products from wall décor to three-ring binders.

Organizers say artists and educators might especially benefit.

"We'd really like to get as many artists out here as possible because we'd like to host an art exhibit next year in the spring and just show off all these creative ideas that people have come up with," Schiappa said.

You can browse through it all and take anything you want -- for free.

The event is being housed at the Center for Green Technology, 445 N. Sacramento, on the West Side. It directly supports green home building by educating the public and encouraging reuse.

"A lot of materials that are plastic aren't necessarily recyclable in the domestic waste stream but aren't recyclable at all for a lot of reasons, and a lot of those products can end up in a landfill and stay there perpetually or for an indefinite amount of time," said Center for Green Technology's Bryan Glosik.

You can head down to the Center for Green Technology this Saturday between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and take all that you can carry. You can even come back for seconds if you like.

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