By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
After all of the presents have been unwrapped and the holiday festivities are over, it is time to start taking down the Christmas decorations.
While artificial trees are packed back in their containers to be stored for next year, someone who opted for a real Christmas tree may not know what to do with it. Recycling options exist within the county for people looking to dispose of their trees.
The Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency, 4292 220th St., will accept Christmas trees free of charge for the next few weeks. Director of Operations and Education Brad Seward said the landfill typically receives 25 to 35 Christmas trees each year.
"I don't know how many real trees are actually used out there," Seward said. "But those who chose to go that route, if they need our program, we have it available."
The landfill accepts wood waste throughout the year at a charge. However, between Dec. 26 and Jan. 11, Christmas trees are accepted for free. The CCASWA is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
"We think this is an opportunity for people to do the environmentally correct thing," Seward said. "We're happy to help out anyway we can. It's kind of our gift to the community."
Any trees brought to the agency are added to the wood waste pile, which will be ground in the spring and turned into wood mulch. The CCASWA sells the wood chips at $5 a ton. Seward said people can fill up two or three large buckets for $1 to $2.
Rose Graves, from R&R Farms, has never told her customers to recycle the trees they purchased from her at the landfill, though she might next year. She said many of her customers re-use their trees in "green" ways.
Most of her customers place the trees in their backyards for area birds to use. Graves also donates any cut trees that were not sold to local lake owners. These trees are thrown to the bottom of lakes for fish habitat.
Anyone planning to take advantage of the CCASWA Christmas tree program should remove all objects, such as ornaments, ornament hooks, tinsel, garland, tree stands and other foreign objects. Christmas lights can also be turned in at the recycling center. For more information, call 243-4749 or visit www.ccaswa.com.