A Greener Field - Recycling

The Museum follows the “three Rs” guideline of “reduce, reuse, recycle.” Exhibit materials are reused whenever possible, and the Museum’s EY 3D Theater received LEED status largely based on material reuse and energy efficiency. You can learn more about LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) at the US Green Building Council’s website.

The Museum has an institution-wide database which is used to internally recycle office furniture. The Museum has replaced paper towels in its public washrooms with air dryers, which save trees and energy. The Field Museum's recycling rate in 2012 was 17.41%. This represents paper, cardboard, metals, plastics, and glass used by staff and visitors and recycled through our waste hauler, as well as construction debris (metals, brick, wood and glass) which is reused. In 2012 the Museum diverted just over 368,000 lbs. of these materials from landfills.  The Museum responsibly recycles an additional 8 tons of e-waste annually, and A Greener Field maintains a staff recycling center which recycles eyeglasses, cell phones, Tyvek, batteries and laser jet printer cartridges. Learn more about recycling.

Although the Museum reuses materials when possible, new exhibits sometimes require new flooring.  In these cases, the Museum favors Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and reclaimed wood, such as wood available in the Midwest due to the massive ravaging of ash trees by the emerald ash borer beetle. This invasive pest has destroyed tens of millions of trees in our region.  Check out the exhibit case on the Museum’s ground floor dedicated to this topic and how we can help prevent this insect’s spread. Learn more about the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and more about the emerald ash borer.