A key example can be found in our hometown.
The cause is Chipping of the Green, an annual mulching of Christmas trees in which the shredded evergreens are then given back to area residents free of charge; at least, to those who want the decorative and aromatic landscaping ornament.
The people — that is, residents of Cleveland and Bradley County — have supported the campaign each December and January for the past two decades although the numbers could be improved.
The corporation now jumping into the endeavor is The Home Depot, a popular home improvements store on Paul Huff Parkway that found itself this year holding some 100 unsold evergreens. The Christmas season is long since past so the trees won’t be bought. Faced with having these symbols of the Yuletide unceremoniously dumped into a landfill, store manager Darrell Pinegar contacted Santek Waste Services to make the trees available for chipping.
Such community involvement is nothing new to Pinegar. The businessman is relatively new to the store manager role at the Cleveland store. But before arriving here, he ran The Home Depot site in Dalton, Ga., where he actively supported a Christmas tree recycling program in that Georgia town.
Once he heard about Chipping of the Green, Pinegar immediately contacted Santek which each year sponsors the recycling initiative in conjunction with the Bradley County Mayor’s Office and the Bradley County Road Department.
It’s a simple process. After removing their Christmas tree decorations, area residents are encouraged to drop off their discarded evergreens to either of Bradley County’s two recycling centers or the landfill. Compliments of a commercial chipper provided by the Road Department, the evergreens are then mulched on Fridays and Saturdays and the shredded, organic material is then given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
This year’s Chipping of the Green began on Dec. 26 and will conclude Saturday, Jan. 11.
Cheryl Dunson, Santek vice president of marketing who coordinates the Chipping campaign each year, was naturally pleased to receive Pinegar’s telephone call. Obviously, for good business and profit margins it would have been better for the home improvement store to sell the retail evergreens to holiday shoppers. But it didn’t happen so the store manager took an admirable action. He gave the unclaimed trees to Chipping of the Green.
And, he is taking his community stewardship to another level. Effective next year, The Home Depot will serve as a collection point for area residents wishing to contribute their discarded Christmas trees to the cause of recycling. Now that Chipping of the Green has gained its first corporate partner, it is conceivable others might follow.
For two decades, Santek, the Road Department and the County Mayor’s Office have heralded the benefits of the holiday recycling effort. Thanks to Pinegar’s civic-mindedness, the next Chipping project will include a key fourth player.
But that’s next year.
Area residents who just now are taking down their Christmas trees still have three days to deliver their evergreens to the Bradley County Landfill, the Urbane Road Recycling Center or the Peerless Road Recycling Center. For those who deliver their trees during off-hours, just leave them outside the locked gates of the recycling centers and they will be transfered to the landfill for chipping.
1. Bradley County Landfill: Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
2. Urbane Road Recycling Center: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
3. Peerless Road Recycling Center: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 1 to 5 p.m.
Chipping of the Green is a relevant voice for the benefits of recycling. The Home Depot is an excellent example of how the corporate world can join hands with individuals in support of a common cause.
We encourage those who are bidding adieu to their evergreens to consider recycling.
We urge other companies to follow the lead of Darrell Pinegar and The Home Depot.