How to Recycle Baby & Kid Stuff

Kids need stuff. Correction: Kids need A LOT of stuff: diapers, formula, gear, toys, clothes, shoes, safety equipment and so much more. But what do you do with all that stuff when your little one is done with it? Here’s a collection of resources for reducing, reusing and recycling the kid stuff in your household.  

Babies go through 7 sizes of clothing in the first two years, and of course the change in seasons almost never coincides with baby graduating from one size to the next. That means you need a lot of clothes. Lots of parents have bins full of baby clothes their children have outgrown stuffed away in their attic or taking up precious space in their closets. How can you get rid of it? 

You probably know that you can take used clothing of all sizes to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. They will resell some of it in their stores, turn some into rags and sell the rest to salvage brokers who pay pennies per pound. Much of the clothing ends up going overseas to secondhand clothing markets in developing countries. Consider turning what you have into cash for yourself or a charity you care about.

Clothes to Gear - from Maternity to the Big Kids

Babies, Tots n' More Consignment:  One-stop shopping for kids at “bargain basement” prices. This event features thousands of quality, gently-used or new kids and maternity items at great prices.  Items include children's clothing (through Youth Size 16), maternity clothing, shoes, toys, books, games, baby equipment (strollers, cribs, pack n' plays, high chairs, etc.) baby and children's furniture n' more.  This amazing event is running three times this year!  Consigners earn up to 70% of their prices - get started today.  

Baby & Kids Clothing

Moxie Jean, now Schoola.com, is the online upscale resale destination for baby and kids' clothing founded by two Chicago moms that helps parents save time and money on kids' clothes - without sacrificing style. Parents can sell clothes in sizes Newborn through kids' size 8 by requesting a free Mailer Bag, or organize a clean out your closet” fundraiser for their daycare or school. Schools can earn $1,000 or more with a simple, low-effort event that doesn’t require parents to buy anything but simply “drop off your donations when you drop off your kids.”  Special thanks to Sharon Schneider, co-founder of Moxie Jean, for volunteering her time to help us create this amazing list!

Diapers

Bundle of Joy Diaper Bank: Families cannot use government subsidies to buy diapers, making disposable diapers one of the mostfrequently requested items at Chicago food pantries. Bundle of Joy (the first and only diaper bank in Chicago) is meeting this need by collecting donated diapers and distributing them through partnerships with local food pantries, community centers and social service agencies. You can even donate loose and opened packs of disposable diapers, including Pull-Ups. Drop Locations
 
Books

Open Books is a nonprofit social venture that operates an extraordinary bookstore, provides community programs, and mobilizes passionate volunteers to promote literacy in Chicago and beyond. Located right downtown, Open Books accepts all kinds of books, which it in turns sells in its bookstore in order to raise funds for its programs. Drop Locations

Car Seats, Strollers, Cribs and other Big Items

Some baby gear is considered unsafe to pass down. In many cases, safety experts do not recommend re-using car seats and older cribs or those with drop sides (which are no longer manufactured). Most thrift stores and charities will not accept these items because they have no way of knowing if they have been in a crash or otherwise damaged. However, car seats can be disposed of by waiting until Babies R Us Trade-in event, which seems to happen a few times every year. They will give you a 25% off coupon for a new piece of baby gear when you trade in your old seat.

If you are confident the seat is safe (has not passed the 5-year expiration date printed on the bottom and has never been in an accident), and has not been recalled (Visit Kids in Danger to verfity), consider Sharing Connections Furniture Bank in Downer’s Grove 

You may wish to contact a women’s shelter or other nonprofit that helps low-income women to see if they know of a family in need.

Toys

Toy Box Connection is a charity located in Orland Park that accepts donations of new or gently used toys and works with local nonprofits to distribute them to children in need. 

Shoes

Soles4Souls is a nonprofit that collects donations of new shoes in bulk from manufacturers and distributes them after natural disasters to aid in crisis relief. They also accept donations of gently used shoes (many of which may not be suitable for disaster relief conditions) and provide them to local entrepreneurs in developing countries who in turn sell them to make a living.  Drop Locations

Baby Formula and Food

If your baby has transitioned to table food and you have leftover formula or baby food, your local food pantry would welcome any unopened containers. You can find a pantry near you through the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

Whole Foods Evanston South will also accept your donations of clean, glass baby food jars, which they in turn give to Chicago’s Bright Endeavors, a Chicago non-profit social enterprise, manufacturing and marketing eco-friendly home and bath products, helping adolescent parents (aged 17-24) transition into economic stability.  Bright Endeavors turns the empty jars into natural soy candles—a popular gift for baby showers and new parents.

For moms & dads

Cosmetic tubes, bottles & jars (any brand)

Bring any cosmetic brand empty container into any Origins retail store & we’ll recycle it for you for FREE.  All returned packing is sent back to a central location where products will be recycled or used for energy recovery.  Since 2009, Origins introduced a program that encouraged its customers to bring their empty previously unrecyclable cosmetic tubes, bottles & jars, etc. - regardless of brand - to their nearest Origins retail store or department store counters. We believe that the more we collect from consumers, the more we can keep cosmetic packaging out of landfills.

More coming!!!  Did we miss another great place to recycle kids and baby stuff? Please email hi@npnparents.org and we will add it to our list.