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8 Forest Preserves to Recycle your Christmas Tree

November 27, 2023 11:40 AM

From festive to forest. Recycle your tree for a greener tomorrow.

Don't send your Christmas tree to the landfill. Donate it to us, and we'll recycle it into wood chips for trails and landscaping in your forest preserves.

Bring your real, undecorated tree to one of eight marked drop-off sites at preserves around Lake County, open 6:30 am–sunset daily, through February 1, 2024. No yard waste or commercial drop-offs are accepted.

Grant Woods in Ingleside

Greenbelt in North Chicago

Half Day in Vernon Hills

Heron Creek in Long Grove

Lakewood in Wauconda

Old School in Mettawa

Ryerson Conservation Area in Riverwoods

Van Patten Woods in Wadsworth



  • The Lake County Forest Preserves has been accepting trees for recycling for at least 20 years.
  • Most years more than 1,000 trees are donated.
  • The majority of the trees are mulched for use on trails.
  • Some trees are used to create "fish cribs." Staff ties several trees together and sinks them with a cinderblock in larger lakes, particularly those that were formerly gravel quarries and lack substantial underwater vegetation. These lakes benefit from the fish cribs, as they serve as crucial habitats for fish.