Give a gift to the environment

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2005

Residents can dispose of Christmas trees free at the SPSA landfill

By Allison T. Williams

Gifts have been unwrapped and put away.

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Another year of holiday memories has been made.

This weekend marks the traditional end of the Christmas season, as people begin packing up ornaments and lights and hauling their Christmas trees to the curb or storage shed.

As the holiday trimmings are cleared, Southeastern Public Service Authority officials are hoping residents will keep the environment in mind.

&uot;Live trees should be recycled,&uot; said Bruce Ebert, spokesman for SPSA.

People who had live Christmas trees can turn them in to the Suffolk Composting Facility at SPSA’s regional landfill on the U.S. Route 58 Bypass or to the Virginia Beach Yard Waste Processing and Mulching Facility.

&uot;Folks need to make sure all the ornaments, lights, and tinsel have been removed from the tree before turning it in,&uot; Ebert said.

Chuck Harrell, environmental supervisor for SPSA, advised people using batteries with electronic equipment to exercise caution in disposing of them.

&uot;This time of year, we see more batteries entering the waste stream, and we ask people to make sure they handle them properly,&uot; he said. &uot;It’s very important to keep batteries out of the trash, because if they go into the landfill, they have the potential for releasing toxic metals.&uot;

Rather than throwing used batteries in the trash, Harrell recommended people drop them off at any of SPSA’s household hazardous waste disposal sites.

&uot;Numerous household hazardous waste disposal sites are located in the region and we are working hard to make it as convenient as possible to use them,&uot; he said.

Two of the hazardous waste disposal sites, including the one at the Suffolk landfill, are open five days a week, eight hours a day.