Move to Addison gives environmental nonprofit more space to recycle

Collecting goods for reuse requires a lot of space, so the environmental education nonprofit SCARCE needs more of it.

The 30-year-old organization has been at 799 Roosevelt Road, building 2 suite 108, in Glen Ellyn for 28 years, but will move to 800 Rohlwing Road in Addison.

From the 7,000-square-foot space where SCARCE has been collecting books, musical instruments, holiday lights and other products for reuse or recycling, the organization is heading to an 18,900-square-foot facility where it can more easily host field trips, volunteers and what Founder and Executive Director Kay McKeen calls "eco chats."

"If people want to come and talk about composting," McKeen says, for example, "we can all chat about what works best - or what never worked."

SCARCE plans to be up and running at its new site by March 14. After seeking a larger space for years, the organization worked with real estate services firm NAI Hiffman to secure a new lease.

"We're bursting at the seams," McKeen said.

Blame all the recycling.

SCARCE's name stands for School and Community Assistance for Recycling and Composting Education. The nonprofit has five full-time employees and five part-timers, along with 40 weekly volunteers, all of whom work on reuse projects including a Book Rescue that has found new homes for 8 million books, a Super Crayon program that melts and reshapes broken crayons, a Tools for Schools program to collect and redistribute like-new supplies and a Scarcely Used Book and Record Sale.

The Book Rescue takes up much space inside the SCARCE facility, as McKeen estimates the organization has 80,000 books in storage. Partner organizations including schools and the DuPage County Jail pick up hundreds of them each week, but until new homes are found, the volumes are stored on shelves that are being carefully broken down to be rebuilt in Addison.

The organization also accepts holiday light strands year-round, and typical and quirky items including musical instruments, bowling balls, keys, plastic bread tags, writing utensils, X-ray film, film canisters, glasses and sunglasses, corks and phone or computer cords.

Volunteers at SCARCE's facility now work wherever they can find space, but McKeen said they will have a dedicated area in Addison. So will the musical instruments, which now are kept in a cubby where educators find them "piled high and dig," McKeen said.

The educational programs the organization offers to students also will have a dedicated space, called the Sustainability Center.

"We're going to be able to take whole grade levels for field trips now," McKeen said.

  Max St. George moves and organizes boxes Thursday at the environmental education nonprofit SCARCE as the organization prepares to move to Addison from Glen Ellyn. Rick West/
  SCARCE's new home at 800 Rohlwing Road in Addison will give the environmental education nonprofit more space for its Book Rescue program and for reuse and recycling projects involving crayons, musical instruments and more. SCARCE plans to be open in the new facility March 14. Rick West/
  The environmental education nonprofit SCARCE is moving to a new location in Addison from the Glen Ellyn space where it has been for 28 years. Rick West/
  Bev Jaszczurowski, chief operating officer of the environmental education nonprofit SCARCE, shows off new shelving and larger space at a new facility at 800 Rohlwing Road in Addison, where the organization plans to be open March 14. Rick West/
Article Comments
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the "flag" link in the lower-right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.