For many, it’s time for that long-standing post-Christmas tradition: hauling away the trash and taking down the tree.
For those with live Christmas trees, there are many options for recycling and mulching the trees. If you’re not garden-savvy enough to chop up the branches to mulch in your own garden, most metro-east townships offer tree recycling into the month of January.
Residents are asked to bring only live trees, no wreaths or artificial trees. Be sure to strip off all ornaments, Christmas lights and other decorations. The trees will be run through a wood chipper to create landscape mulch, at least in Edwardsville Township.
“Our Christmas tree recycling program is a way for residents to safely dispose of their Christmas trees and give the township a source of much-needed mulch,” said Edwardsville Township Supervisor Frank Miles.
Christmas tree drop-off locations include:
▪ Belleville: Ladermann Park, 1105 Mascoutah Ave.; North End Park, 1204 North Douglas Ave.; Bellevue Park, 401 Bellevue Park Drive.
▪ Cahokia: Cahokia Park, 212 Cahokia Park Drive.
▪ Collinsville Township: Township shed at 1407 North Bluff Road; between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.
▪ Edwardsville Township: Township Community Park, 6368 Center Grove Road, near the trash bin in the lower parking lot. Trees accepted until Jan. 31.
▪ Fairview Heights: Moody Park, South Ruby Lane and Wilcox (south of the recycling center).
▪ Freeburg: Old sewer plant on Kessler Road.
▪ Lebanon: 553 North Madison (corner of Summerfield Street and Illinois 4.)
▪ Marine Township: Township shed at 620 North Vernon Street.
▪ Mascoutah, Mascoutah Township and Engelmann Township: Green Waste Yard, South 20th Street.
▪ Millstadt: 200 block of North Main, off West Gooding.
▪ O’Fallon: Residential curbside pickup only.
▪ St. Clair Township: Centennial Park on Route 161; Loop Creak Park, 410 Todd Lane.
▪ Shiloh: 126 Seibert Road.
▪ Smithton: Village Park.
▪ St. Jacobs Township: 10048 Ellis Road
▪ Stookey Township: 313 Eiler Road.
▪ Sugarloaf Township: 240 South 5th Street Rear, Dupo.
▪ Swansea: Melvin Price Park and Schranz Park off Huntwood. Note: Swansea is only accepting trees until Jan. 16.
▪ Tri-Township Park: Parking lot by Pavilion One
If you like to keep the tree up for the twelve days of Christmas, never fear; unless otherwise indicated, trees will be accepted until Jan. 31.
In some cities and townships, trees will be picked up with your curbside garbage collection. Call your local city hall or township office for more information.
What about the rest of the holiday detritus? Republic Services, which provides waste disposal for many metro-east communities, has issued a “naughty and nice” list for what is and is not recyclable from holiday waste.
▪ Nice (recyclable): gift boxes, tissue paper, shoeboxes, holiday cards and envelopes, paper gift bags, and non-metallic wrapping paper.
▪ Naughty (non-recyclable): bubble wrap, metallic wrapping paper, ribbons and bows that aren’t made of paper, sticky gift labels, foam peanuts, and gift bags that are coated or laminated.
Republic suggests reusing items when possible, and consider using more sustainable packing materials: for example, using wadded newspaper instead of buying foam peanuts.
And don’t forget that those dead Christmas lights should go into electronics recycling! Most area recycling programs have e-waste collections several times a year, and are often held by nonprofits, youth groups and other organizations as fundraisers for various causes. Many major stores also have recycling bins for electronic waste, including LED lightbulbs, batteries and Christmas lights.
Collinsville has a monthly e-waste drop-off for residents on the second Friday of each month from noon to 5 p.m. in the city parking lot across from Spirito’s Italian Grocery on West Main Street.