What to Do With Christmas Trees After the Holiday

Instead of trashing your trees, you can recycle them -- and there are plenty of places across the Chicago area that will accept them

Christmas tree recycling
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You brought it home, adorned it with ornaments and loaded its base with presents. Now what?

If you're ready to wrap up the holiday celebrations and take your live Christmas tree down, you can opt to recycle it. There are sites across Chicago and its surrounding suburbs that are willing to take it off your hands, ultimately giving all trees a second life by repurposing them.

Chicago's Holiday Tree Recycling program collects and turns trees into mulch that will be used at local parks and forests.

Residents can drop off their live trees from Jan. 7-26, 2023, at one of 26 parks across the city. In order to be recycled, all trees must be free of tinsel, ornaments, lights and stands. They also must be rid of any plastic bags. Garlands and wreaths will not be collected, the city noted.

Trees will be accepted during regular park hours at the following locations:

  • Bessemer Park, 8930 S. Muskegon Ave.
  • Clark Park, 3400 N. Rockwell St.
  • Forestry Site, 900 E. 103rd St.
  • Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Ave.
  • Grant Park, 900 S. Columbus Dr.
  • Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1369 N. Sacramento Ave.
  • Jackson Park, 6300 S. Cornell Ave.
  • Kennedy Park, 2427 W. 113th St.
  • Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.
  • Lake Meadows Park, 3117 S. Rhodes Ave.
  • Lincoln Park, Cannon Dr. at Fullerton Ave. (East side of Cannon Dr.)
  • Mahalia Jackson Park, 8385 S. Birkhoff Ave. 
  • Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr.
  • Marquette Park, 6700 S. Kedzie Ave.
  • McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Rd.
  • Mt. Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St.
  • North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski Rd.
  • Norwood Park, 5800 N Avondale Ave. (Service Yard)
  • Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave.
  • Riis Park, 6201 W. Wrightwood Ave.
  • Rowan Park, 11546 S. Ave. L
  • Sheridan Park, 910 S. Aberdeen St.
  • Walsh Park, 1722 N. Ashland Ave. 
  • Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave.
  • Wentworth Park, 5701 S. Narragansett Ave.
  • West Chatham Park, 8223 S. Princeton Ave. 

Six spots will also provide free mulch on a first-come, first-served basis starting Jan. 9, 2023: Lincoln Park, Margate Park, Mt. Greenwood Park, North Park Village, Warren Park and Forestry Site.

According to the city, 22,236 Christmas trees were mulched through the recycling program, diverting approximately 775,000 pounds from landfills in 2020.

In the suburbs, sanitation services often pick up Christmas trees as household waste. Tree pickups will vary, so it's best to check with your local department for more information. Most services will require trees to be free of all decorations and plastic bags.

Some The Home Depot locations also hold live tree collection events. The company recommends calling your local store to ask if one is scheduled.

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