How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas TreesWhere and How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas Trees in Illinois in January 2017

How to Recycle or Dispose of Christmas Trees

In many urban and suburban areas, Christmas trees are collected from curbside during the first 2 weeks in January. Be sure to remove all  remove all lights, wire, tinsel, ornaments, nails, stands,  other NON-Organic decorative materials and other materials that are not part of the original tree. This includes tree stands also.  Flocked trees are usually accepted, but not artificial trees. Large trees (larger than the standard 6 - 7 ft tree) may need to be cut in half to be acceptable by your garbage hauler. But scrroll down this page for more specific information and local links.

What happens to the trees? In most cases, the trees are chipped and made into a mulch which is usually made available, free to city or county residents. Important: Never burn your Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove. Burning the tree may contribute to creosote buildup and could cause a chimney fire.

Tips: Always follow the links (usually the name of the city or county) below for updated information, as these agencies often wait until the last minute to change dates or update their information (it's government, remember?). If your area is Grinding Christmas trees into mulchnot specifically mentioned below, contact your trash collection agency and inquire!

Related information:

See this page for local options to easily recycle your Christmas holiday lights

Click here for the list of winter sleigh ride locations!

See our easy recipes to make a Chocolate Yule log and click here to make your own low-fat, low calorie but delicious Egg Nog! Then come back to our other website in March to find a local Easter Egg Hunt for your children!

Illinois: Where and How to Recycle Your Christmas Tree After the Holidays

Illinois (out side of the Chicago area) Christmas Tree Recycling

For Chicago, click here!

Areas outside of Chicago

  • Kane County  Christmas Tree Recycling. You can drop trees off at the following locations:
    Advanced Disposal (Veolia) Transfer Station, 766 Hunter Drive (corner of Hubbard & Hunter), Batavia, IL, 60510. Phone: 630-879-3587. Hours:  Monday to Friday 6am-5pm, Sat 6am-10am. Please remove all decorations, tinsel, lights, etc. Cost: $15. Note: Special Saturday drop-off, 6am-10am, $25 for a load of mixed material, equivalent to a pick-up truck level bed full, can include a tree for no extra cost.
    Midwest Compost; 1320 Spaulding Rd. in Elgin, IL, 60120. Phone: 847-931-2900. Hours:  Monday to Friday, 7am-4pm. Please remove all decorations, tinsel, lights, and plastic bags used for transporting. Closed Christmas and New Year's day. Cost: $10.
  • Algonquin - Waste Management will offer free curbside collection of trees from January 3 to January 13 for existing residential customers. Trees will be chipped and converted to landscape mulch. Also, trees must be cut in half if over 6 feet and all tinsel and decorations must be removed. Please do not bag trees and be sure to uncover them if buried by snow. Also, the Village of Algonquin, in cooperation with Elgin Recycling, will be offering holiday light recycling November 23 through January 20 at Ganek Municipal Center, 2200 Harnish Drive.  The collection period has been extended for those who would like to recycle their holiday lights after this season. A container for your unusable or unwanted lights will be available in the Ganek Municipal Center lobby during normal business hours. Items that will be accepted include mini-lights, C7 lights, C9 lights, rope lights, LED lights, and extension cords of any length. Please be sure to remove all tinsel, garland, plastic casing, and other decoration items from the light sets before they are dropped off. Elgin Recycling will recycle the lights collected at Ganek Municipal Center and help Algonquin reduce waste sent to landfills. Please note that household light bulbs, floodlights, compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) or fluorescent bulbs will not be accepted.
  • Aurora - Aurora Township Christmas Tree Recycling on January 4, 2016. The Aurora Township Highway Department will collect Christmas trees and wreaths for unincorporated Aurora Township residents only. The undecorated tree and wreath pick up will take place on January 4, 2016. (Weather permitting) No bags or plastic of any kind and please put the cut end toward the street. Additionally, the ATHD will accept Christmas tree and wreath drop offs from any Aurora Township resident at our facility at 220 Butterfield Road. The drop off times are weekdays, 8am until 3pm, between January 4 and January 8, 2016. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 630-892-0246.
  • Aurora Township - The Aurora Township Highway Department will be initiating a Christmas tree and wreath pick up service this year for unincorporated Aurora Township residents only. The undecorated tree and wreath pick up will take place on January 7, 2013. No bags, no plastic of any kind and please put the cut end toward the street. Drop-off: Additionally, the ATHD will accept Christmas tree and wreath drop offs from any Aurora Township resident at our facility at 220 Butterfield Road. The drop off times are weekdays, 8am until 3pm, between January 2 and January 11, 2013.
  • Batavia - Live Christmas trees will be picked up on residents' regular collection dates. Tree removal is freeon the following dates only. After these dates, affix a refuse or yard waste sticker to the tree and place it at the curb on their regular collection date. Plastic bags, ornaments, lights, nails, etc. should be removed from the trees. Live wreaths and garland should be placed in regular refuse.Far West Side (Randall to the west): Monday, December 31 & Monday, January 7; East Side: Friday, January 4 & Thursday, January 10; West Side (Fox River to Randall): Saturday, January 5 & Friday, January 11.
  • Champaign, Illinois - Christmas Tree Recycling and Collection Program. The City of  offers two options to recycle your Christmas tree.
    Drop off for Free Disposal: Trees may be taken to the Landscape Recycling Center (344-5323) at 1210 E. University Avenue in Urbana at no cost during the month of January. or
    Curbside Collection: City residents may participate by placing their tree within four feet of the curb by 6 a.m. on their scheduled collection day. City residents may participate by placing their tree within four feet of the curb by 6 a.m. on their scheduled collection day. Trees with stands, decorations, tinsel, lights, artificial snow-frost, plastic bags, or any other material that makes the tree non-recyclable WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED. Collected trees are chipped and made into garden mulch. Click here for the printable flyer.
  • Dundee Township - Dundee Township Highway Commission recycles trees. Bring your tree (all decorations removed) to the Township Garage at 1900 Sleepy Hollow Road (at Rt 72) December 25th through January 15th. The trees can be dropped off anytime. There are signs showing where to drop them off. We do not pick up any trees and the trees have to have all decorations removed. Call Highway Commissioner Larry Braasch at 847-426-0898 for more information.
  • East Dundee - Holiday greenery must have all tinsel, ornaments, lights and nails removed before being placed out at the curb for pick-up and cannot be placed in plastic bags. Holiday greenery collection is FREE the FIRST TWO WEEKS in January.
  • City of Elgin- Christmas Trees Christmas Trees will be collected December 26th through January 16 from all residential households. Stickers are not required for Christmas trees during this period. All decorations, stands, etc. must be removed from trees in order to be collected. Do not place trees in plastic bags. Trees in plastic bags will not be collected. After January 16, each Christmas Tree will require one visibly affixed refuse sticker to be collected. Yard waste collection services (except Christmas Trees), are not provided to condominium and townhome units.
  • Geneva - Christmas Tree pick up will be 2nd & 3rd weeks in January without sticker place at curb with garbage. Note: A waste hauler will be picking them up, not the City trucks.
  • Gilberts - The Village of Gilberts' Waste Hauler (MDC) shall pickup discarded Christmas trees place on the curbside on the resident's normal pickup day after the Christmas holidays until January 31st.
  • Maple Park - Christmas trees will be picked up on the resident's service day beginning after December 25th. Pickup will continue through the month of January. Trees must be free of all decorations. Trees must not be in plastic bags. Trees over 7 feet must be cut in half.
  • Montgomery - Allied Waste will collect Christmas trees during the first and second full week of January . Trees must be free of plastic bags, all decorations (including tinsel) and tree stands, and be placed at the curb by 6:00 a.m. on your normal collection day. No stickers are required.
  • Naperville, IL - ALthough in a pathetic bid towards political correctness, they call it "Holiday Tree Recycling", the city will, nonetheless collect you CHRISTMAS TREE on each resident's normal garbage collection day during the first 2 full weeks of weeks of January. Trees must be free of all ornaments, tinsel, lights, stands and plastic or bagging material. For more information, call (630) 420-6095. And give them a hard time about calling it a "holiday tree"! Humbug bureaucrats!
  • Rockford Illinois Area - See this page for a listing of Christmas tree drop off locations from Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful, which has arranged 13 collection sites in Winnebago County for you to drop off your tree from January 1 - 15. Site times may vary. Parks are generally open dawn-dusk. Wreaths are not accepted due to wire frames. Drop-off Trees January 1 thru 15. Mulch available while it lasts, until cleared - by March 1st 
  • South Elgin - Allied Waste/Republic Services will pick up Christmas trees through January 17th on normally scheduled refuse days. All decorations should be removed before placing the tree at curbside.
  • Springfield, IL - Department of Public Works crews will collect natural fir and evergreen trees for two weeks starting Jan. 2 through Jan. 13. Residents are encouraged to put the trees on the curb by 7 a.m. on Jan. 2. They should not be put in the way of traffic. There are other rules to follow: No flocking, ornaments, tinsel or other decorations can be on the trees. Wooden tree stands must be removed, and garlands and wreaths with wire won't be accepted. Residents also can drop off trees and branches from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday at the public works facility, 301 N. 17th St.
  • St. Charles - Christmas trees will be picked up during the first two full weeks of January (4 & 11 in 2016). Trees will be picked up on BOTH sides of the river on the regular scheduled refuse day. After this two-week period, a sticker will be required. Trees are NOT to be placed in disposal bags. Residents should note that all decorations, including tinsel, must be removed. For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 630-377-4405 or pw@stcharlesil.gov.
  • Pingree Grove/ Flood Brothers - Christmas Trees will be collected for the first three weeks of January at no charge. During this free three week collection period, trees must be free of all decorations and cannot be in plastic bags. After the three week collection period, Christmas trees will be considered a Bulk Item. (Bulk items will be collected at no extra cost up to seven items each calendar year. Charge after allowed seven will be $8.60 per item)
  • Urbana - January each year. The City of Urbana will provide holiday tree collection to all residents for 2 weeks this holiday season: The first two weeks of January on your U-Cycle collection day.
  • West Dundee - Free Christmas tree collections are scheduled for Saturday, January 5, 2013 and Friday, January 11, 2013 for those households receiving regular refuse collection within the Village. Trees need to be stripped of all decorations and placed at the curb with the cut end facing the street. Trees do not have to be cut up, bundled or placed in yard waste bags. Trees in plastic bags or wrapped in plastic will not be accepted. In addition, trees or greenery covered with artificial snow cannot be accepted. Garlands and wreaths must be disassembled. The organic portion should be placed in a yard waste bag while the rest is discarded as refuse. If you live in a building with more than three units, contact your building owner or refuse hauler regarding the disposal of your tree, or deliver it to one of the drop-offs listed above.
  • Will County - Christmas Tree Recycling. Check with your municipality to see if trees are collected curbside for recycling and composting. If not, consider taking your tree to a designated Forest Preserve District of Will County drop-off site for mulching. The pine chips can be used for trails or for landscaping. Trees can be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at four Forest Preserve District Visitor Center parking lots: Isle a la Cache Museum in Romeoville, Monee Reservoir in Monee, Plum Creek Nature Center in Beecher and Sugar Creek Administration Center in Joliet. Please remove all lights and decorations from your tree. For information on tree recycling program dates, visit the District's website. If you unable to take a tree to a Forest Preserve District drop-off site or place it at the curb for a special municipal tree collection, consider placing it in your back yard for a month with birdseed attached. This allows small birds to find shelter and food in the winter months and gives the tree more use before it is taken to a landfill.
  • Winnebago County - 13 collection sites in Winnebago County for you to drop off your tree from January 1 - 15. Site times may vary. Parks are generally open dawn-dusk. Wreaths are not accepted due to wire frames. Drop-off Trees January 1 thru 15. Mulch available while it lasts, until cleared - by March 1st  Click here for locations, updated information and more details.

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