Many years ago - maybe 2015? - I began volunteering at Zero Landfill Chicago events. What is Zero Landfill? It's an upcycling program that accepts designer and architectural firm discards and leftovers, out-of-date decorating samples, partial bolts of fabric, and various odds and ends that would all otherwise end up in a landfill. Twice a year, Zero Landfill opens up to teachers and artists who can use these leftovers for their classrooms, arts supplies, and DIY projects. I volunteer to help organize all the donated items before they are offered to the public; I'm a scavenger at heart and love the thrill of the hunt that I get each time I work with Zero Landfill. I get many of my alternative materials here - as you can see from the photographs below. I also appreciate meeting other volunteers and the camaraderie that've we've developed over the years.
Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/zlfchicago/