After all the presents have been unwrapped and the decorations dismantled, it's time to find a new use for those live Christmas trees that have been gracing many homes this holiday season.
Columbia County will again sponsor its "Bring One for the Chipper" program. Starting Monday, residents can leave their trees in the designated location at the Evans Home Depot.
Trees can be dropped off through Jan. 9, when they will be mulched. Mulching will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
"The trees are mulched, which can be used for gardens or landscaping," said Jenny Hinton, coordinator of Keep Columbia County Beautiful. "The trees also are used as fish habitats at the lake and private ponds."
An estimated 2,800 trees were mulched last year through the program, which is in its seventh year. Traditionally, tree seedlings have been given to anyone who brings a tree for recycling. This year seed packets will be distributed. Also, the mulch is free to those who want it.
"Ferry Morse has generously provided seed packets this year and we will distribute them instead of tree seedlings," said Hinton.
"Both the mulch and seeds are available while supplies last."
Hinton reminds people who bring their trees for recycling to remove all decorations and stands prior to the drop-off.
To pick up mulch, people will need to bring bags and shovels.
According to Earth911.com, "The value of recycling Christmas trees is that they are considered organic waste, which means they can be composted, mulched or even converted to fuel. But the tree is only organic if it's stripped down to its original form, which means removing all the lights, ornaments and tinsel."
For those who wish to recycle their trees themselves, the Web site offers a few hints. Oneis to chop it into firewood and kindling. Another is to put it in a pond to provide shelter and nutrients for fish.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will collect trees again this year to place in local lakes and ponds. They will accept trees at Riverside Middle School through Jan. 5.
For information about their program, call (800) 533-3478.
Hinton calls Christmas tree recycling "your gift to the earth." For information about "Bring One for the Chipper," call (706) 312-7195.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.