Palmer Doggie Depot volunteers work to raise funds and recycle Christmas trees

“It’s the fourth or fifth one we’ve had now,” said Palmer Doggie Depot volunteer Evan Schlesinger. “It’s sponsored by the dog park. We rent the chipper and the guy and everybody who’s there is with the dog park. We solicit donations for the park, which go to garbage cleanup and maintenance and whatnot.”

Palmer Doggie Depot volunteer Evan Schlesinger works to grind up some Christmas trees to create wood chips, which will be donated to the Orianna Hill Dog Park in Northern Liberties. | Photo by Tom Beck

The comforting feeling of a fresh start to a new year – or in this case a new decade – that January brings is always a nice feeling. It’s officially time to work on your new year’s resolutions, and the conclusion of December’s holiday crazy has brought a sense of calmness. There’s just one problem. Your house is still decorated in holiday decorations, including the 6-foot-tall evergreen standing decoratively in your living room, adorned by this year’s ornaments. Unfortunately, it’s time to get rid of it. But you don’t want to put it out on the curb on trash day because it won’t be recycled that way – only thrown into a landfill. Lucky for you, there’s a number of local organizations in Philly that have you covered. One of them is the Palmer Doggie Depot, whose annual Christmas Tree Recycling Event came to the dog park at the corner of Palmer Street and Frankford Avenue this past weekend in Fishtown. 

“It’s the fourth or fifth one we’ve had now,” said Palmer Doggie Depot volunteer Evan Schlesinger. “It’s sponsored by the dog park. We rent the chipper and the guy and everybody who’s there is with the dog park. We solicit donations for the park, which go to garbage cleanup and maintenance and whatnot.”

At the time of the Star’s conversation with Schlesinger, the total donations for this year’s event had yet to be counted. But typically, Schlesinger said, they typically raise about $800 after paying off the cost of a wood chipper. Schlesinger estimated that he and his fellow volunteers recycled about 200 trees.

“But it could have been more,” he said.

According to Schlesinger, the trees get grinded through the wood chipper, turning them into wood chips, which are deposited into a small truck. This year’s wood chips will be donated to Orianna Hill Dog Park in Northern Liberties. 

“It’s a good service for the neighborhood,” said Schlesinger, who noted that the tree recycling event is one of the dog park’s biggest fundraisers of the year. “I think it’s an important feature in the neighborhood. It’s sustainable. We’re chipping it and it’s going right back to another great cause…I don’t know why you wouldn’t recycle your tree.”

The Christmas tree recycling event was just one of a number of similar events in the city. Passyunk Square Civic Association, South Philly Green, South of South Neighbors Association, East Mt. Airy Neighbors, UC Green and the Lower Moyamensing Civic Association all had tree recycling events in the city over the weekend.

If you still need your tree disposed of, the City of Philadelphia has its own Christmas Tree Recycling Program, which goes through Saturday, Jan. 18. Residents may drop off their trees for recycling at any Streets Department Sanitation Convenience Centers Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The only Sanitation Convenience Center located in the River Wards is in Port Richmond, located at 3901 N. Delaware Avenue. 

In addition to the Sanitation Convenience Center, the city will hold a Christmas Tree drop off in East Kensington at the corner of American and Thompson streets on Saturday, Jan. 11 and Saturday, Jan. 18 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Trees brought to these sites should be free of all decorations and ornaments, and untied. Residents who require additional information regarding the Christmas Tree Recycling Program may contact 311.