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Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree or Broken Holiday Lights
By Sarah Edwards On January 3, 2022 · Leave a Comment · In Blog, Director's Blog, Energy, Environmental Control, News, Projects, Resources, Technology, Waste Reduction, Waste Reduction
Not sure what to do with your live tree and old or broken light strings post-holidays? There are many opportunities to recycle these items in Cook County. Make your holiday season a little more sustainable this year by keeping holiday waste out of the landfill.
Drop-off sites open to all Cook County residents:
Make sure to call ahead to any drop off site to confirm that they are accepting the item you are looking to recycle this year.
Trees Drop off your holiday tree at these locations to be composted or mulched. Consider bringing a friend or neighbor’s tree along while you are at it.
This annual program runs from Jan. 8th, 2022 – Jan. 22nd, 2022 this year. Only live/natural trees are accepted (no garlands or wreaths). These trees are going to be mulched, so they should be completely free of all decorations and removed from any bags or packaging.
This year, a whopping 26 parks are participating! And 6 will provide free mulch on a first come, first served basis starting Jan. 10. For a list of the participating parks, visit the Recycle by City website.
Homewood-Flossmoor & Olympia Fields Parks:
This annual program runs from Dec. 26th, 2021 – Jan. 19th, 2022 this season. Only live/natural trees are accepted (no garlands or wreaths). These trees are going to be mulched, so they should be completely free of all decorations and removed from any bags or packaging.
- Trees can be dropped off anytime at: Irons Oaks Vollmer Road parking lot, 2453 Vollmer Road
For more information, visit the Homewood-Flossmoor tree recycling website.
Alternatively, try the Earth911 Recycle Search. This resource will help you locate drop off locations for a wide range of hard-to-recycle items. Just enter your zip code and “Christmas tree” as the item you are looking to recycle.
Far Northside Chicago wards:
Lights There are several locations where broken or unwanted holiday light strands can be dropped off for recycling. Many are open year-round, not just during the holiday season.
Alds. Matt Martin (47th), Andre Vasquez (40th) and Harry Osterman (48th) are sponsoring the holiday light recycling drive along with the North Center Neighborhood Association, the 47th Ward Green Council and the Edgewater Environmental Coalition. Holiday lights can be dropped off through Jan. 31. Check the individual offices hours before stopping by. Some offices are operating under holiday hours. More information here.
Recycling drop-off sites:
- 40th Ward Office, 5620 N. Western Ave.
- 47th Ward Office, 4243 N. Lincoln Ave.
- 48th Ward Office, 5533 N. Broadway
- North Center Chamber of Commerce, 4054 N. Lincoln Ave.
- A Pretty Flower, 2334 W. Lawrence Ave.
- Erwin Law LLC, 4043 N. Ravenswood Ave., Suite 208
Homewood-Flossmoor & Olympia Fields Parks:
Holiday Lights may be dropped off anytime (during business hours) now through Tuesday, January 19, 2022 at any of the following locations:
- HF Racquet Club, 2920 183rd St., Homewood, IL
- Irons Oaks, 20000 Western Avenue, Olympia Fields, IL
- Goldberg Center, 3301 Flossmoor Road, Flossmoor, IL
For more information, visit the Homewood-Flossmoor light recycling website.
Many hardware stores also accept holiday lights for recycling. Give your nearest Home Depot, Lowe’s, or local hardware store a call and ask if they are accepting lights this year. Alternatively, try the Earth911 Recycle Search. This resource will help you locate drop off locations for a wide range of hard-to-recycle items. Just enter your zip code and that you are looking to recycle “string lights”.
Holiday recycling opportunities by municipality:
Some Cook County municipalities are offering special tree and light recycling opportunities for their residents. See below for information on your municipality. Don’t see your municipality listed? Give them a call anyway, they may have a holiday recycling opportunity that is not listed here.
Make sure to call ahead to verify that the item you are looking to recycle will be accepted this year. Trees for all collections should be free of all decoration and should not be put in a bag. Check with your municipality for specific instructions.
Lights Any non-working strings of holiday lights or extension cords can be recycled from November 30 through February 26, by dropping them off at the Health & Human Services Department at Village Hall or at the Public Works Center, 222 N. Ridge Ave. More information here.
Lights Collection of holiday lights will be at the Public Works Facility, 300 N. Raymond Avenue, late-November through March. More information here.
Lights Traditional lights, Italian mini-lights, extension cords, rope lights and LED lights can be dropped off at one of the outdoor containers at: Courts Plus (186 S. West Avenue), The Elmhurst Park District Administrative Office (375 W First St.), Wagner Community Center (615 N. West Ave.), The Abbey (407 W Saint Charles Rd), or City Hall (209 N. York St.) through Monday, January 18, 2022 (look for the bins with the “Holiday Lights” signage.) Call Mickey Boyle at (630) 993-8941 or email MBoyle@epd.org with any questions. More information here.
Lights Holiday string lighting and extension cords can be dropped off for recycling at the Evanston Ecology Center, the Robert Crown Center, and the Levy Senior Center between December 1 – January 31, 2021. The 2020-2021 program is supported by the City of Evanston, SWANCC and Elgin Recycling. More information here.
Lights Mini-lights or Italian lights, C7 lights, C9 lights, rope lights, LED lights and extension cords can all be dropped off for recycling at the Public Works Department, at the corner of East Lake Avenue and Shermer Road, November 21, 2021 through February 28, 2022. A receptacle is outside the center for collection marked with a sign. All colors and lengths of lights will be accepted. Call the Public Works Department at (847) 657-3030 with questions.More information here.
Lights The Hanover Park Environmental Committee, in cooperation with Elgin Recycling, Inc., is collecting used holiday lights and extension cords for recycling. Bring in your entire strands, including lights that no longer work, to the Hanover Park Public Works Department January 1st through the end of March. More information here.
Lights From December 1-January 29, holiday lights can be dropped off in the marked bin located at the Fleet Garage behind Village Hall (1227 Cedar Lane) on weekdays from 7am-3pm. More information here.
Trees Trees can be dropped off at the Aqua Center starting the day after Christmas. Trees will be chipped to be reused in landscapes or will be added to yard waste compost that, when finished processing, is a wonderful additive for soil. Also, a hefty truckload of tree mulch produced by the Village can be delivered to residents’ homes (for a small fee) when landscaping season resumes, or residents can pick up the mulch for free! More information here.
Lights Holiday lights can be dropped off in marked bins at Village Hall and the library. The Village has partnered with Gaby Iron and Metal, a local metal recycling company, to make this option available. More information here.
Lights Roselle residents can recycle broken and tangled strands of indoor, outdoor, LED or specialty holiday lights to the drop boxes located at Village Hall, 31 S. Prospect St., and at Clauss Recreation Center, 555 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. More information here.
Trees Residents can drop Christmas trees off at the Engineering and Public Works Department, 714 S. Plum Grove Rd., for recycling, during the entire month of January. More information here.
Lights Christmas lights and extension cords can be recycled in the lobby at Public Works, 714 South Plum Grove Road or the Robert O. Atcher Municipal Center, 101 Schaumburg Ct during regular business hours at all times of year. Please removed all C-3, C-7 and C-9 bulbs before dropping off the strands. More information here.
Lights Through January 31, 2022, strands of holiday lights may be dropped off in the container located outside the Skokie Public Works main entrance at 9050 Gross Point Road. Drop-offs accepted Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Available through a partnership with Skokie Public Works, Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County and Elgin Recycling. More information here.
A Message from the President
I believe that Cook County should be a world-class model of sustainability. We are working not only to boost sustainability practices throughout County government, but also to join forces with local governments, nonprofits and business, to accomplish more than we could separately in making each of Cook County’s communities sustainable. To further this work, I appointed Deborah Stone as the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer, and as Director of the Department of Environmental Control. I also recognize that Cook County needs to share ideas and collaborate with a diverse group of community leaders and sustainability experts. In March 2012, I appointed the Cook County Sustainability Advisory Council to help lift our vision higher and give us access to best practices. You can meet the Council members and read more about their mission in the “Advisory Council” section of this website. Toni Preckwinkle,Cook County Board President
What is Sustainability?
" Ensuring that there is enough for today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."Deborah StoneChief Sustainability Officer, Cook County Government
Contact UsCook County Chief Sustainability Officer
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