By RICK NORTON
Few holiday revelers want the community’s Christmas merriment to end anytime soon, but here’s a mild dose of reality: The time is coming to do something about those live evergreens.For local …
Few holiday revelers want the community’s Christmas merriment to end anytime soon, but here’s a mild dose of reality: The time is coming to do something about those live evergreens.
For local residents who believe in a fitting farewell for the brightly adorned Christmas trees — minus the decorations — that have given them unbridled joy since Thanksgiving, the environmentally sound Chipping of the Green recycling initiative starts Tuesday.
This is the fourth consecutive year a national sponsor has partnered with Santek Waste Services to make the program possible.
Cheryl Dunson, executive vice president of marketing for Santek — the private contractor that operates and manages the Bradley County Landfill — announced The Home Depot is again making available a part of its Paul Huff Parkway parking lot to use as a corral for Christmas tree disposal.
Getting underway the day after Christmas — Dec. 26 — Chipping of the Green will continue through Saturday, Jan. 13.
Like the last three years, The Home Depot corral will serve as one of four collection points for used evergreens. The others include the landfill, as well as the Urbane and Peerless Road recycling centers.
“Offering numerous drop-off points increases the event’s chance for success,” Dunson said. “Two years ago we had phenomenal results and last year we had a marginal turnout. We never really know how residents are going to respond, but we’d rather have an event than not have one.”
Dunson added, “At the very least, we’re giving everyone an opportunity to do the environmentally correct thing with their old tree.”
Chipping of the Green, and the aromatic mulch it produces which is given away to the public free of charge, is not just about the Santek partnership with The Home Depot. They have two additional partners in the Bradley County Road Department — which provides a commercial chipper and employees to operate it — and the county mayor’s office that has a long tradition of endorsing recycling projects that are friendly to the environment.
Davis said one of the beauties behind Chipping of the Green is that the recycling centers don’t have to be open in order to accept used Christmas trees.
“Ideally, we want everyone to visit the centers when they’re open,” Davis said. “But, we also recognize trees don’t make a mess like other recyclable items. Drop trees outside the gate and we’ll ensure they get recycled.”
Located off Nature’s Way in McDonald, the Bradley County Landfill is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The Urbane Road Recycling Site is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Peerless Road Recycling Center is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 2 to 5 p.m.
Residents can drop off their discarded evergreens at The Home Depot corral from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Dunson credited The Home Depot and the Bradley County Road Department for their continued support of the Chipping of the Green program.
“Our efforts wouldn’t be as successful without help from The Home Depot and from the road department,” Dunson said. “The Home Depot is centrally located to residents and gives us a very visible and easily accessible location, while the road department is kind enough to loan us a very important piece of equipment.”
She added, “We value our partnerships with The Home Depot and the Bradley County Road Department, and we are forever grateful to Mayor Davis for his support in our various recycling efforts.”
Santek and its Cleveland and Bradley County community partners are not alone in post-Christmas programs that seek to protect the longevity of landfills while offering some of Mother Nature’s finest smelling mulch. Truth is, an estimated 4,000 Christmas tree recycling programs now operate in the U.S.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association, about 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in this country each year. NCTA also reports for every evergreen harvested for Yuletide use, one to three seedlings are planted the following spring.
“More than 77 million Christmas trees are planted each year, and it takes approximately six to eight years for a tree to reach maturity,” NCTA literature cites. “And during this time, trees support life by absorbing carbon dioxide and other gases while emitting fresh oxygen.”
NCTA adds, “Farms that grow Christmas trees stabilize soil, protect water supplies and provide refuge for wildlife while creating scenic green belts.”
Dunson and Davis pointed to Bradley County’s other recycling opportunities that are open to the public.
“We encourage our residents to take advantage of the other source-reduction programs at the three collection centers,” Davis said.
Year-round, all sites accept glass, aluminum, cardboard, mixed paper and newsprint, Davis noted.
“The landfill also accepts waste oils, lead-acid batteries and white goods,” Dunson added.
“Offering numerous drop-off points increases the event’s chance for success. Two years ago we had phenomenal results and last year we had a marginal turnout. We never really know how residents are going to respond, but we’d rather have an event than not have one.” — Cheryl Dunson
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