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SCV Christmas trees produce tons of mulch

Thousands of trees picked up each day during recycling program

Posted: January 2, 2013 4:57 p.m.
Updated: January 2, 2013 5:11 p.m.

A Waste Management two-man team watches as the truck lifts a Christmas tree for recycling in Saugus on Wednesday. Collectors picked up about 3,000 trees in the single day. Signal photo by Dan Watson.

Locally recycled Christmas trees might just be one of those gifts that keep on giving — more than 500 tons worth every week.

Santa Clarita residents who leave their trees for curb-side trash pickup are giving the city a chance to do something good for the environment and to find a second use for the trees.

And, we’re not talking a few twigs and branches.

Last week, Christmas trees weighing 565 tons were collected in the Santa Clarita Valley, said Travis Lange, the city’s Environmental Services Manager.

On Wednesday, more than 3,000 trees were collected from curbs in front of local homes, according to tree-gatherers.
Discarded Christmas trees left by the curb on trash-collection days are gathered by workers contracted by Santa Clarita for recycling, Lange said.

Tree owners have until Jan. 13 to make use of the city’s recycling program.

“People get to put their Christmas trees by the curb over the next couple of weeks,” Lange said.

“They just have to put it out with their regular trash,” he said. “It’s then picked up — not by the same trucks that remove trash and recyclables — but by another (separate) truck that goes around the city picking up trees.”

The collected Christmas trees are then put through a wood chipper and ground into mulch for use in landscaping and agriculture, Lange said.

The nutrient-rich mulch and compost end up at locations in the San Fernando Valley and at a location on Highway 126, said a spokeswoman for the collection service.

“They get ground up, then shipped out for composting,” said Kristi Carrive of Waste Management Blue Barrel, based in Van Nuys.

Elsewhere in the nation, some more innovative uses are found for old Christmas trees.

In South Texas, the same type of mulch from recycled Christmas trees is mixed into soil along highways in that region.

In Riverside County, the Department of Waste Management is using recycled trees to fortify Lakes Elsinore, Gregory, Hemet and Perris and to preserve small fish populations by protecting them from larger predatory fish.




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