Oh, Christmas trash

Published 11:11 pm Friday, January 2, 2009

The presents have been unwrapped. The ornaments have been taken down.

All that is left from this Christmas holiday are some memories and the wilting tree standing in your family’s living room.

If you are one of the many area families trying to get rid of your 2008 tree, there are a couple of ways to dispose of it.


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Most simply, you can just throw it away.

Debbie George, communications director for the city, said there is no special protocol for throwing Christmas trees away. Residents have only to put their tree out by the curb on their regularly scheduled trash day, and then public works will take care of it from there.

Second, people can recycle their trees.

According to an article posted on LiveScience.com, real Christmas trees can be recycled in a variety of ways, including being turned into mulch, used in landscaping and gardening or chipped and used for playground material, hiking trails, paths and walkways. They are also used for beachfront erosion prevention, lake and river shoreline stabilization and fish and wildlife habitat.

The article also said that 93 percent of the more than 30 to 35 million real Christmas trees sold in the U.S. each year are recycled. That can be attributed to the more than 4,000 tree recycling programs that are available in the United States.

If you want to take part in the tree recycling, you can visit www.livescience.com and check under the Earth911 site for a complete list of participating recycling programs, though the nearest ones listed are in North Carolina.

Then, “treecyclers” should remember the following steps before dropping their tree off:

Remove all stands, lights, tinsel and ornaments.

Check the collection and drop-off dates for treecycling in your area — you don’t want to miss the deadline, and dates and times can change on occasion.

Do not place your Christmas tree inside a plastic bag. It should be left in its natural state for recycling.

And it is also worth remembering the following tree recycling is only allowed for real trees. If you own an artificial tree, it should either be boxed and stored for next year, or thrown away curbside as well.