Parks Collecting Christmas Trees for Recycling

The City of Chicago is collecting live Christmas trees for recycling, Sat., Jan. 5 through Sat., Jan. 19. Local drop off locations are Kennedy Park, 11320 S. Western, and Mount Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St. Place trees into stalls designated for collection.

Before you drop off a Christmas tree, remove off all ornaments, tinsel and lights. Flocked trees cannot be accepted. Plastic bags used to transport the tree should also be removed as well. Wreaths and garlands will not be accepted.

This program is a great chance to go green! Tons of trees will be diverted from landfill and repurposed into rich, organic mulch. Mulch will be used in parks, and also available free for Chicago residents to pick up starting Mon., Jan. 7 at Mount Greenwood Park. Mulch can be used for gardening or landscaping, and will be given on a first come, first serve basis.

For people who are unable to drop off trees for recycling, composting is available. Healthy Soil Compost, a Chicago composting service, is offering Christmas tree pickups through the end of January. The fee is $35 for current Healthy Soil Compost members or $45 for non-members. For an extra $15, they will pick up additional trees at the same location, so it can pay off to get the neighbors involved.

Call 312-927-4778 or healthysoilcompost@gmail.com. Ten percent of the proceeds their tree pickups will be donated to Zero Waste Chicago, a non-profit, dedicated to reducing waste. In 2018, over 18,329 Christmas trees were composted through the City’s program, diverting an estimated 640,000 pounds from landfills and nourishing the soil instead.

After you’ve enjoyed the holidays, plan to recycle or compost your tree, then use the mulch and put the tree right back into the earth.