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Don’t trash your tree — mulch it

Annual event helps ease holiday waste

POSTED: December 29, 2012 7:00 a.m.

Keep Liberty Beautiful is urging merrymakers to keep the environment in mind in coming weeks as they strip their Christmas trees and cast aside boughs of holly.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 33 million live Christmas trees are sold in North America every year. And Bring One for the Chipper, launched by the Keep Georgia Beautiful Foundation, aims to put those trees back to use in nature.

Collections of undecorated trees will run through Jan. 11 to allow holiday revelers a chance to unload their pines and firs in an environmentally friendly fashion, according to Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Sara Swida.

“We want everybody to celebrate Christmas and really enjoy, and there’s nothing more fragrant or wonderful than having a live tree in your home, but after Christmas we just don’t want those trees ending up in landfills when they can actually be used either for mulch or fish habitats,” Swida said. “It’s a really great way to make sure that waste doesn’t end up in the landfill and a way to make sure we get a useful product out of it.”

She emphasized that to protect the mulching machines, trees need to be completely stripped of decorations, wiring and binding.
Swida said the Georgia Forestry Commission, Brewer’s Christmas Tree Farm and Georgia Power also help coordinate the annual event.

The drive will wrap on Saturday, Jan. 12 with an event from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Liberty County Health Department parking lot. Trees will be recycled into mulch or used in ponds for fish habitats, Swida said. That day, tree donors will receive tree seedlings provided by the Georgia Forestry Commission and tomato seeds.

Liberty County will collect trees — with decorations removed — at its typical collection centers. Hinesville residents can place their trees at the curb for pick-up from public works, and Walthourville residents can drop off bare trees at their public works site, 152 Hardman Road in Walthourville.

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