Wednesday, August 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Recycled Christmas trees equal mulch, dunes, habitats

Holidays-Recycling Christmas Trees

Volunteers place recycled Christmas trees inside man-made wooden cribs in the shallow water of a local marsh in Jefferson, La. The trees absorb wave action and protect fragile marshland from erosion. AP photo

By
From page A4 | November 12, 2013 |

By Beth J. Harpaz

It’s one of America’s great recycling success stories: Every year, hundreds of thousands of discarded Christmas trees are collected and reused.

Many are picked up curbside by local garbage collection services and turned into mulch. But there are other second acts for Christmas trees, too. They’re placed on beaches to shore up dunes and sunk in lakes as fish habitats. They’ve even been milled into lumber for use in building homes.

How many of the 25 million to 30 million fresh Christmas trees sold each year are recycled is difficult to measure because most recycling programs “are implemented on such a local level,” said National Christmas Tree Association spokesman Rick Dungey. The good news, though, is that tree-recycling efforts are now “ubiquitous” and recycling your tree is “easier than ever.”

This will be the 27th year for Christmas tree recycling in San Francisco, where nearly 600 tons of trees are fed into a giant wood-chipper outside City Hall each year and turned to mulch. New York City’s Department of Sanitation collects about 150,000 trees each year and mulches them in a joint program with the Parks Department. The mulch is used in parks, playing fields and community gardens. Residents lucky enough to have their own urban backyards can take home a bag at “Mulchfest” events held around the city.

New York’s Rockefeller Center is famous for its towering Christmas tree, and for the seventh year in a row, this season’s tree will be donated to Habitat for Humanity. The tradition began when the 2007 Rockefeller Center tree went to build a home in Pascagoula, Miss., for a survivor of Hurricane Katrina.

Lumber from the milled Rock Center tree is marked so that the families know its origin. In some years, families that have benefited from the construction have attended the tree-lighting event in Manhattan.

In Jefferson Parish, a suburb of New Orleans, Christmas trees help prevent marshland erosion. The trees are placed in wooden cribs, in shallow water parallel to the shore, where they absorb the impact of waves.

“It protects the shoreline,” explained Jason Smith, spokesman for the Jefferson Parish Department of Environmental Affairs. “The area behind it is calm, where vegetation can grow.” The trees decompose and must be replaced yearly. The program uses between 10,000 and 30,000 trees a year, and has been in existence since the winter of 1990-91.

Shawnee Mission Park Lake in Shawnee, Kan., is also a final resting place for recycled Christmas trees. About 100 to 150 trees are sunk each year with concrete blocks to provide fish habitat.

Many beaches also use recycled Christmas trees to protect against erosion. Strategically placed, the trees catch sand and are eventually covered by it, becoming part of the dune system.

A number of beaches at the New Jersey shore were built up using Christmas trees after last year’s Superstorm Sandy. Beaches at the Rockaways, in New York City, which were also devastated by Sandy, benefited from a Christmas tree project as well. The Rockaways effort was sponsored by a California wine company, Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, an E. & J. Gallo Winery brand. Barefoot Wine has been working with the Surfrider Foundation, which promotes ocean protection, on beach cleanups and restorations for seven years. But the Rockaways program was Barefoot’s first using recycled trees.

Those who prefer artificial Christmas trees usually don’t throw them out after one year. But when the time comes, there’s even a program to recycle them. Polygroup, one of Walmart’s largest suppliers of artificial Christmas trees, sends them — including lights and electric cords — to a recycling center in China where they are shredded and broken down for reuse in other products. The bad news: Consumers must pack and ship the trees back to Polygroup themselves. The good news: You can send in any brand of tree, and you need only ship to Polygroup’s Indiana offices, not to China.

Comments

comments

The Associated Press

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Summer jobs: a scramble for spots, extra cash

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Classic car show slated in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    ‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

     
    School board preps for new academic year

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

     
    Woodland historical award winners announced

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

    .

    Forum

    Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

     
    Bravo! The road diet works

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

    Support water bond in November

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Relay for Life team says thanks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

     
    .

    Sports

    Aggie QB Baty is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    I’m not an ‘athlete’ but curling is hard

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1

    Hard hoops schedule features defending national champ at UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

     
    Sacramento scores early to snap skid

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

    Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

     
    .

    Features

    Food that travels well for cooking out

    By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6