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Old Christmas Trees=Mulch For Free With City Recycling Program

By DNAinfo Staff on January 5, 2013 4:10pm

SOUTH LOOP — If you've got an ever-present evergreen you need to ditch now that the holidays are over, one city program gives you an environmentally-friendly way to do it.

As part of the Christmas Tree Recycling Program, 23 park drop-off locations will accept old trees through Jan. 18.

The trees will be ground into mulch, which will be offered for free starting Friday, Jan. 11, at the same 23 locations, according to the City of Chicago website.

Paula Miscinski, a leadership coach and “recyclist,” stopped by the Grant Park location at 900 S. Columbus Drive to add some of her greenery to the heap of yuletide leftovers.

“I miss these trees,” she said, resting her palms on the pile of pine.

Miscinski is happy her Christmas trees, which provided her so much joy during the holidays, will provide someone else joy as garden mulch — and not end up in a landfill.

“These are living things,” she said. “Life has to get recycled. They can’t be buried while they’re still alive, buried in crap.”

For South Loop resident Calvin Lyons, the recycling program offers him a way of easing his guilt about using a live tree for only a short time.

He heaved his 6-foot Scotch Pine onto a pile already full of cut-down fauna Saturday.

“A tree is killed for a week, 10 days, and for what?” Lyons, 49, said. “It seems like such a waste. The greener the better.”

In the program’s 24 years, more than 157,000 trees have been recycled, with more than 14,000 recycled in 2012, according to the City of Chicago website.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a written statement that recycling Christmas trees is an easy way for Chicagoans to make “a big impact on the environment.”

"Each year, we are able to recycle thousands of Christmas trees to divert more waste away from landfills and reuse the materials in an environmentally-friendly way," he said.

Trees are accepted at these 23 drop-off locations:

North Side

  • Clark Park, 3400 N. Rockwell St.
  • Kelvyn Park, 4438 W. Wrightwood Ave.
  • Lincoln Park, Cannon Drive at Fullerton Ave.
  • Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr.
  • North Park Village, 5801 N. Pulaski Rd.
  • Norwood Park, 5801 N. Natoma Ave.
  • Portage Park, 4100 N. Long Ave.
  • Riis Park, 6201 W. Wrightwood Ave.
  • Warren Park, 6601 N. Western Ave.

West Side/Central

  • Garfield Park, 100 N. Central Park Ave.
  • Grant Park, 900 S. Columbus Drive
  • Humboldt Park Boathouse, 1369 N. Sacramento Ave.
  • Sheridan Park, 910 S. Aberdeen St.

South Side

  • Bessemer Park, 8930 S. Muskegon Ave.
  • Forestry Site, 900 E. 103rd St.
  • Jackson Park, 6300 S. Cornell Ave.
  • Kennedy Park, 2427 W. 113th St.
  • Lake Meadows Park, 6700 S. Kedzie Ave., near the golf course
  • Mt. Greenwood Park, 3721 W. 111th St.
  • McKinley Park, 2210 W. Pershing Road
  • Rowan Park, 11546 S. Avenue L
  • Wentworth Park, 5701 S. Narragansett Ave.