Christmas will last all summer |

Christmas will last all summer

Jeff Munson, Tribune city editor

With Christmas over and a new year just days away, the time has come to bring down the decorations and, of course, the tree.

While most don’t give a second thought about putting the tree by the curbside, where it goes afterward makes a big difference.

South Tahoe Refuse in cooperation with South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation and Douglas County Parks and Recreation have found an environmentally-friendly way, now in its 12th year, to handle the onslaught of trees.

Jan. 5 through Jan. 9 South Tahoe Refuse will haul holiday trees to maintenance yards where they will either be composted in Carson Valley or chipped and taken to South Shore parks. The wood chips make perfect mulch for erosion control, said Ginger Huber of El Dorado County’s environmental management department.

“The program is very easy for people who want to recycle their Christmas tree and help save space in the landfill,” Huber said.

Recyclers should put their Christmas tree, stripped of all decorations and stands, next to their garbage can on their regular pickup day. South Tahoe Refuse trucks will collect the trees and take them to an area to be chipped.

Recommended Stories For You

Trees that are put on the curbside before Jan. 5 will be sorted and taken to the maintenance yards for chipping. South Tahoe Refuse, however, asks that people wait until Jan. 5 before they put out their tree.

The program has been widely successful and cost-effective because it is keeping trees out of the landfill, said Jeanne Lear, resource manager for South Tahoe Refuse.

“We started the program in 1991 and recycled 712 trees. Now we’re chipping 3,500 in South Lake Tahoe,” Lear said. “It’s good for the environment, the lake, those looking to get rid of their trees.”

Since the program began, South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation has recycled more than 30,000 trees, Lear said.

Douglas County Parks and Recreation saw 3,000 trees recycled last year. Chips from the trees went to fill areas of Kahle Community Park.

South Tahoe Refuse is also offering drop-off areas for trees at Zephyr Cove Park and Kahle Community Park. No drop-off points have been designated in South Lake Tahoe.

To assure that your tree is recycled properly, South Tahoe Refuse asks the following:

n Make sure the tree is cut into 6-foot chunks or less so it will fit into the collection truck. If the tree is taller than 6 feet, cut it in half.

n Neighbors who do not have trash pickup may place their trees with those who do.

n To protect workers and equipment, remove tinsel, lights, nails and stands.

n Flocked trees will not be accepted because they gum up the chippers.