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Recycle Your Christmas Tree!!

By Mark Rappaport

Once you have enjoyed your Christmas Tree and the needles are starting to get brittle and brown, what do you do with it?

Tuolumne County´s Solid Waste Manager, Mark Rappaport is encouraging Tuolumne County residents to once again plan to recycle their Christmas trees. Christmas trees can be chipped, shredded and used as: mulch for water conservation and weed control; erosion and /or dust control on hiking trails and bridle paths; additives in composting operations; and alternative fuel in co-generation or biomass plants.

Why should Tuolumne County residents recycle their Christmas trees?

Christmas trees become a fire hazard when kept too long.

Burning Christmas trees in the fireplace is extremely dangerous.

Burning trees in the open creates air pollution.

Recycled trees have many beneficial uses.

Christmas trees should NOT be mixed with other trash for disposal or recycling. Residents may wish to chip their Christmas trees and use them at home as mulch or compost or take advantage of one of the following opportunities to recycle Christmas trees in Tuolumne County…AT NO CHARGE.

DROP OFF LOCATIONS

Please remove all decorations, tinsel, metal tree stands and nails. Also, some trees may have a metal supporting rod in the trunk that must be removed. Please do not bring any Christmas wrapping paper or trash.

Big Oak Flat/Groveland Transfer Station at the end of Merrell Road will accept clean cut and bundled trees AT NO CHARGE. The minimum gate fee of $14.70 will be charged for any flocked trees. Drop off during regular business hours, 8:00 am to 3:45 pm, Wednesday and Saturday only, through the month of January.

Cal Sierra Earth Resource Facility on Camage Avenue, off of Tuolumne Road, near Standard will accept clean, whole trees AT NO CHARGE during regular business hours, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, closed 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm, Tuesday thru Saturday, through the month of January. NO FLOCKED TREES.

Cal Sierra Material Recovery Facility/Transfer Station (MRF) on Industrial Drive in East Sonora will accept ONLY FLOCKED TREES AT NO CHARGE during regular business hours, 8:00 am to 4:45 pm, seven days a week, through the month of January, Closed New Years Day. MRF does charge the regular $12.60 for all other trees.

CURBSIDE COLLECTION

Local solid waste collection companies will provide limited curbside collection of Christmas trees in their respective collection areas along their regular collection routes. They ask that the trees:

Be cut 4 feet or less in length

Bundled and tied

Weigh a total of 60 pounds or less

Burns Refuse Service will pick up trees in their collection area including East Sonora, Tuolumne and Standard beginning Monday, January 9, through Friday, January 13, 2006 on regular trash collection days. NO FLOCKED TREES.

Cal Sierra Disposal will pick up trees in its collection area, including Columbia, Sonora, Jamestown and Highway 108 corridor (Twain Harte, Pinecrest) areas beginning Monday, January 2, through Tuesday, January 31, 2006. NO FLOCKED TREES.

Moore Bros Scavenger will pick up trees in their collection area one day only on Thursday, January 12, 2006. NO FLOCKED TREES.

Trees collected will be chipped and used for mulch, composted, or burned to create energy. Real Christmas trees are a renewable, recyclable resource. Please help reduce the waste stream by recycling or composting your Christmas trees.

For more information please contact your collection company or the Tuolumne County Solid Waste Division website or call us on (209) 533-5588 . You can also contact Master Gardeners at (209) 533-5696 or at . Master Gardeners Website

Master Gardeners and the Tuolumne County Solid Waste Division wish you and your loved ones the happiest of holidays. See you in the garden.