Nonprofit hauls away, recycles Christmas trees

January 8, 2010 3:31:13 PM PST
Those who haven't thrown out their Christmas trees still have an opportunity to help protect the environment."I just felt bad throwing it away," Melissa Walters said about having a freshly cut tree in her home over the holiday. She wouldn't dare compound that guilt by not recycling her Christmas tree.

"You're already cutting down a tree and taking that resource and then if it ends up in a landfill, if it can be reused for mulch or anything. It's an easy thing to recycle," said Walters.

There's just one problem: The Logan Square condo-dweller had the tree delivered; she doesn't have a car to haul it to one of the city's recycling drop sites. Walters thinks she struck gold with her discovery of Do the Right Thing Recycling.

"People don't always have the opportunity to take their tree out, put it into their car and take it to one of the drop off centers, that's where we fill a niche," said Adam Goldstein, Do the Right Thing Recycling.

For a donation of $20, the non-profit organization will come to your home, dismantle your tree, wrap it in a re-usable tarp, then deliver it to a local firm that will turn the tree into mulch.

"What happens if they don't get recycled is they go as far as ninety miles away from the center of Chicago to a landfill, so you're talking about a carbon footprint of running huge waste hauling trucks to and from," said Goldstein. "Not only that, when they do make it to the landfill, they don't degrade."

If you won't be home, you can leave the tree in your yard. They'll pick it up from there for $15. And as we saw while we were with the recyclers, they occasionally stop to pick up strays along the way.

The guys at Do The Right Thing Recycling say they also work to educate clients about the benefits of recycling during their visits.

Do The Right Thing Recycling: dtrt-recycling.org


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