Green Living: Don’t Trash Your Tree!

Tree RecyclingDuring the weeks after Thanksgiving, I saw numerous trees on top of cars and in pickup trucks — heading home for their two to four weeks of glory, decorated as the family or office Christmas tree.

The sadder side of this story is that all of these trees were headed toward their inevitable death and final disposal, shortly after the holiday.

Fret not, though! Although these trees may only serve as a beautiful reminder of the holiday season for a short time, they can have a second life through local “treecycling” operations. Those Douglas, noble and grand firs can be put through a grinder or chipper and made into a nutrient-rich compost or mulch product.

Kitsap County’s Public Works Department has put together a handy list of locations to take your tree to be recycled. Additionally, a few of the larger U-cut farms around the county are handing out tags that you can hang in your tree with all of the locations you can take it when it’s time to come down. Be sure to ask if that tags is available once you have cut the perfect tree.

Treecycling is easy, and often times more convenient than travelling to a conventional garbage-disposal site. Just be sure to remove all decorations, tinsel, nails and any other stuff that isn’t part of the tree; haul the tree to your local treecycling site; pat yourself on the back for making a good recycling choice, and you’re done!

Also, remember that even though it is, in fact, a naturally occurring material, it is not OK to dump your tree on the side of the road, in ravines, or pretty much anywhere for that matter. This is considered illegal dumping and can result in a citation.

Other Christmas things to recycle

With artificial trees becoming more and more common, you may find yourself with one that you want to get rid of. Try donating it or giving as a hand-me-down to friends or family if it is in good shape. If it is beyond saving, some metal recyclers may want it if it is mostly aluminum, or it can be disposed of at any of the county-owned disposal facilities that collect household garbage.

Got a string of lights that went out? Believe it or not, those can be recycled, too. There are a couple local options for drop-off recycling, and some of the big-box home improvement stores are starting to accept them, as well.

Whatever you do, don’t put them in your curbside recycling bin! They most certainly will do more harm than good when they get to the sorting facility. Picture your pantleg getting caught in a bicycle chain — the same kind of thing will happen at the sorting facility with a 25- to 50-foot string of lights in the machinery.

Lastly, there’s all that wrapping paper. If it doesn’t have a foil-like sheen to it, go ahead and put it in your recycling bin, and reuse or throw away your ribbon.

For more tips you can use next holiday season, be sure to check out the Kitsap County “Seasons Green-ings” website. There’s a great deal of advice on making your holidays more environmentally sustainable.