A Green End to the Holidays

Christmas tree made from recycled soda cans

Putting the Christmas tree up is the fun part. Taking it down…not so much. If the time has come for you and your family, the Chicago Park District will be collecting Christmas trees for recycling from now until Jan. 16. There’s a great map of drop off sites in Chicago right here. And nonprofit Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful has a list of recycling locations too.

As we were looking up how to recycle our trees, we ran across some great ideas from the National Wildlife Federation and the readers of Mother Earth News to make this post-holiday chore a little more fun. If you’re feeling up to a project, here are a few of the ideas that piqued our interest:

We love this wildlife habitat project — turning your old tree into a place where wildlife can find food and shelter from the winter chill. If you want to plan ahead for next year, U.S. Fish & Wildlife even has suggestions for edible ornaments.

If making a wildlife habitat in your backyard isn’t an option for you, local wildlife restoration projects can sometimes use the trees. One reader of Mother Earth News suggested keeping the tree branches and needles in little packages to boil later on. It will make your house smell like the holidays year-round.

And — it’s a little late for this year — but we were inspired to try a tree made from recyclables for next year. Some of these look amazing!

We hope your 2016 is off to a great start!