Here’s how to recycle your Christmas tree in DeKalb

Christmas tree recycling offered during first half of January for DeKalb city residents

Rob Wessels, owner of Wessels' Family Farm, pulls out one of the available trees Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, at Wessels' Family Farm Market in DeKalb.

DeKALB – DeKalb residents will have a convenient way of disposing their Christmas trees early next month, according to a news release sent Wednesday from the city of DeKalb.

Over the first two weeks in January, Lakeshore Recycling Systems of Morton Grove will haul away real Christmas trees from DeKalb homes during their regularly scheduled refuse service collection times.

Bryan Faivre, head of utilities and transportation for the DeKalb Public Works Department, said that beginning the week of Jan. 1, residents will have two opportunities to use the annual service on their usual refuse collection days.

“Whatever our residents’ normal collection day would be, they can place their Christmas trees out this coming week and the following week so that the Christmas trees are recycled,” Faivre said. “And it’s a good way for residents to get rid of their trees.

“Obviously it would be very difficult for them to get rid of a live tree otherwise, other than cutting it up and really hanging on to it, because there is no landscape collection waste during the winter time.”

Residents should be aware that the trees cannot be tossed on the curb with tattered decorations. A tree will be considered a large pickup item and not included in the special collection service if the tree is wrapped in a plastic bag or flocked, or has shiners, tinsel, light bulbs, glitter, wire or plastic on it, according to the release.

Faivre said the trees need to be clean of debris because they’re typically mulched after pickup.

“It’s important that residents remember not to have plastic bags over them – you know, they have these Christmas tree bags that residents can carry their trees out to avoid needles in their home, but [Lakeshore Recycling] will not collect the trees if they have the plastic bags on them,” Faivre said. “It’s important that the tree is just bare, so to speak.”

Faivre, who has been with the DeKalb Public Works Department for decades, said the program has been going on for as long as he can remember, but he hasn’t heard much from residents regarding how they feel about the program.

He said he figures no news is good news.

“Honestly, I haven’t heard from residents, but refuse collection is kind of similar to water and other items like that that public works does, that you really don’t hear from residents unless there’s an issue,” Faivre said. “So I guess I would say the fact that we don’t hear from residents is probably a good thing when it comes to the tree collection.”

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