14th annual Christmas tree recycling kick-off

14th annual Christmas tree recycling kick-off


This Christmas, be good to the environment—recycle that holiday tree. When the holidays are over and your dried-out Christmas tree has lost its luster, take it to one of 14 locations in Winnebago County to save it from the landfill or roadside ditch and to have it recycled into wood mulch.

Sponsored by Winnebago/Rockford Clean & Beautiful, the Christmas Tree Recycling Program is now in its 14th season and has helped reclaim more than 30,000 trees in the countywide program last year. In order to serve even more residents of Winnebago County, a new drop-off site has been added. Residents can now participate at Harrison Park, on the south side of Harrison and east of Eastrock Drive.

City of Rockford street crews will handle the tree chipping for the Park District locations, and ComEd and Asplundh Tree Expert Company will take care of the county locations. Lori Gummow, WRCB executive director, stresses the importance of removing all decorations. “Residents are to remove tree bags, wire, lights and ornaments. Also, no tree stands or wreaths are accepted,” she added.

Mulch will be available free to area residents as the trees are chipped at each location. More than 4,000 trees are chipped at Gambino Park each year. “If you are interested in the free pine mulch, I suggest you visit Gambino Park and Martin Park with your garden tools frequently,” points out Gummow, adding, “Including your tree in our program is the best environmental choice you can make for this holiday season!”

Ron Clewer, property manager for William Charles Investments, was instrumental in initiating the addition of the Harrison Park site. When asked why that particular location was of strong interest, he commented, “We’re hoping to benefit the residents in that area. As a developer, our goals are to create responsible developments and responsible people. We can set an example—for residents to carry on.” Clewer also notes, “There was not another convenient location in that region. We had land available; this new site is of benefit to everyone.”

Trees can be dropped off Jan. 1 through Jan. 15 at the following locations:

Don Schmid Youth Sports Center at Riverdahl Park

Blackhawk Park, 100 15th Ave.

Levings Park, east entrance off South Johnston Avenue

Andrews Park, 800 N. Central Ave.

Gambino Park, River Lane off North Alpine Road

Alpine Park, 900 S. Alpine Rd.

Harrison Park, south side of Harrison, east of Eastrock Drive

Martin Park, Park Ridge Road off Riverside Boulevard

Machesney Park Village Hall, 300 Machesney Road

Baumann Park, South Walnut

Williams Tree Farm, 4661 Yale Bridge Road

Rockton Boat Ramp, off Hononegah Road

Valley View Farms, 6440 Belvidere Road

Westdale Village, next to boat launch at Smith Road

Local sponsors who have provided financial support or services for this project are ComEd, City of Loves Park, City of Rockford, Woodward, Keep Illinois Beautiful, Village of Machesney Park, Village of Rockton, Harlem Township, Village of Cherry Valley, Alpine Bank, William Charles, Williams Tree Farm, Rockton Township, Rockford Park District, Rock River Disposal and Valley View Farms.

Real Christmas trees are both a recyclable and a renewable resource. The trees, while growing, stabilize the soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife. Additionally, one acre of growing Christmas trees produces the daily oxygen requirements of 18 people.

For more information on the 2002 Christmas Tree Recycling Program or other programs sponsored by Winnebago/Rockford Clean & Beautiful, call (815) 637-1343.

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