The annual Ogle County Christmas tree collection and chipping program recently wrapped up around the county with a total of just over 500 trees collected and chipped up into useful mulch.
That is a total of around 25,000 pounds or roughly 12 tons of trees not headed to the landfill.
Since program year 1999 a total of almost 16,000 trees, roughly 400 tons, have been recycled into mulch and not ended up in the landfills.
Starting on December 26, people dropped off trees at locations in Rochelle, Byron, Oregon, Monroe Center, Polo, Forreston, and Leaf River.
Rochelle residents placed trees out by the curb and the street department came out and chipped them at the curb.
In certain areas local Future Farmers of America (FFA) volunteers collected trees and brought them to the drop-off point for chipping.
This year, despite the mild winter, was challenging for the FFA students and advisors as winter storm systems hit two weekends in a row.
FFA volunteers in Byron, Forreston, Polo, and Oregon worked together with local street departments to get the trees collected as they dodged winter ice storms.
Roughly 110 trees were picked up in these areas by either the FFA students or by the street department.
The Ogle County Solid Waste Management Department (OCSWMD) coordinates the program and wishes to thank all of the volunteers, municipalities, street departments, and FFA students and teachers who actually do the work and handle the trees.
This program will continue for 2020 and into 2021.
Anyone interested in free mulch from the trees, please call the OCSWMD at 815-732-4020 for more information and sites where mulch will be available.