The stockings are empty, the floor is covered in needles and paper, bows and string. Basically, it looks like the Tasmanian Devil has come through and left the debris of the holiday season in his path. Before you bring in the shop vac to suck it all up and return your home to its non-holiday glory take a minute to read this handy guide to after-the-holidays recycling.
Where to Recycle Holiday Items in Lake County
Christmas Tree Recycling | Holiday Light Recycling | Wrapping Paper & Card Recycling | Packing Material Recycling | Other Recyclables
Christmas Trees Recycling in Lake County
For the easiest disposal of your real/live Christmas trees as well as your garland and wreaths (real only, without any wires), check and see if your town offers a curbside pick-up.
Many cities have tree pick up and recycling right at your curbside. To find out what your own municipality has available, and on what days, check your city’s website. For a complete listing of Lake County municipalities and their sites, check the list maintained by Lake County, IL.
If your town does not offer curbside recycling, you can drop off your tree (minus ornaments, of course) at one of the Lake County Forest Preserve sites for recycling. Because the donated trees are chipped and used for trails and landscaping, you can still feel connected to your Christmas memories as you picnic or hike in one of Lake County’s beautiful forest preserves this summer. Find the drop-off sites on the LCFPD website, open daily from 6:30 a.m. to sunset between December 26 and February 1 (trees must be free of decorations):
14245 Rockland Rd., Libertyville | (847) 362-4636
A fun place to take your tree so four-legged friends can enjoy it is The Farmyard at Lambs Farm. The trees provide a treat for the animals. Lambs Farm will take fir and pine trees that are free of decorations and tinsel. Trees may be dropped off by the miniature golf entrance, located at the southwest corner of the main parking lot.
Holiday Light Recycling in Lake County:
Have a bad set? SWALCO handles Holiday Lights Recycling. (Note: location, dates, and hours are the same as electronics recycling.) SWALCO only accepts Wire string holiday lights and extension cords, no Wreaths, Garland, Ornaments, Figurines, or Inflatables.
If you want to recycle your lights and give back, Christmas Lights Source will take your lights, recycle them, send you a coupon for new lights, and turn the proceeds into donations for Toys for Tots.
If you need to recycle and replace holiday LEDs you can also send those to Holiday LEDs and get a coupon for new ones.
Holiday Cards, Boxes, and Wrapping Paper:
According to Recycle Now
Wrapping paper can only be recycled if it passes the scrunch test – simple paper wrap can be recycled, but foil or glitter-decorated paper cannot and needs to go in the general waste.
Your local curbside recycling service will take cards, envelopes, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, and wrapping paper tubes. See the SWALCO website for more details.
Did you know your seasonal cards and other greeting cards still have a greeting left in them once you’ve received them? Give them another chance to be transformed by sending them to the St. Jude’s Ranch for Children in Nevada where children repurpose the old cards into new ones. Please SEND (front only) of your recycled cards (except for Hallmark, American Greetings or Disney) to St. Jude’s Ranch for Children, 100 St. Jude’s St., Boulder City, NV 89005
Recycling Packing Material:
Bubble wrap and packing foam should not be recycled curbside. Although there are locations that will take them, please consider reusing first. There are plenty of people moving that would probably love these packing materials! Try posting on your town’s online bulletin board to see if anyone would like them.
Here are places that will take them:
Along with used plastic grocery bags, most grocery stores will take bubble wrap and air pouches (please deflate first).
1200 N. Milwaukee Ave., Glenview | (847) 967-8830
ABT accepts wood pallets, cardboard, paper, plastic (industrial wrap only), styrofoam (white only, food containers excluded). Bring them to the merchandise pick-up entrance during regular business hours.
City of Highland Park
1180 Half Day Rd., Highland Park | (847) 432-0807
Drop off your Styrofoam #6 here on Tuesdays and the first Saturday of the month from 7:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
872 S. Milwaukee Ave., Libertyville | (847) 918-0181
This UPS location will take bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and air pouches.
825 South Waukegan Road, A8, Lake Forest | (847) 234-9422
They will take packing peanuts only.
Recycle your Amazon boxes AND Give Back
Amazon, along with other online retailers, has partnered with Goodwill and other charities to offer you a way to reduce clutter and help those in need with their easy GiveBackBox. Just fill your empty boxes with clothing and household items you no longer use, print out a shipping label at GiveBackBox.com, and let UPS or the U.S. Postal Service deliver your items to Goodwill. It’s a win-win! Labels coast $15 and cover the cost of shipping for the charity.
Other recyclable materials:
Wondering what to do with your used cooking oil after your holiday feast? It can be removed through the Household Chemical Waste program of SWALCO. Click here to go to the page and schedule an appointment.
Remember that your recycled goods (cans, glass, and plastic) should be cleaned of food residue. And, believe it or not, caps should be left on containers (small caps fall through the sorter). Labels do not have to be removed from containers. Clean foil can also be recycled in your curbside collection.
Unfortunately, artificial trees cannot be put with recycling. If you have one you no longer want, you may want to consider donating it to charity.
How do you stay green after the holidays?
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