Recycle your tree for free |

Recycle your tree for free

Andy Bourelle

Christmas tree, oh, Christmas tree – the time has come to get rid of thee.

Now that the Christmas holiday has passed, Lake Tahoe residents’ live trees are probably starting to look a little dead. While the trees served their purpose, many people are starting to say goodbye to the large holiday house decorations.

South Tahoe Refuse and the parks and recreation departments of Douglas County and the city of South Lake Tahoe want to encourage South Shore residents to recycle the dead trees.

And they want to help people do it, too.

“The trees are a nutrient resource, and this is a way to put those nutrients back in the soil,” said Jeanne Lear, recycling programs/safety officer of South Tahoe Refuse. “Many people cut down trees, and it just makes sense to return the nutrients.”

South Tahoe Refuse started collecting Christmas trees along with its regular curbside pick-up on Dec. 28 and will continue making the pick-ups through Jan. 8. It is a free service to customers, who need only to put out their trees on their regular trash day. A separate truck will come around and pick up the trees.

If South Shore residents miss their regular garbage day, collection sites have been set up at Kahle Community and Zephyr Cove parks for Douglas County residents and the city of South Lake Tahoe Parks and Recreation Department Complex, 1180 Rufus Allen Blvd., for city residents.

The trees will be stockpiled, chipped and used for soil-repair and erosion-control projects.

The Christmas tree chipping started more than five years ago, and both South Lake Tahoe and last year Douglas County each chipped more than 3,000.

For years, all of the Douglas County chips have gone toward work at Kahle Community Park.

“It’s a huge help to us,” said Craig Burnside, parks superintendent for Douglas County.

South Lake Tahoe uses the chips for a variety of reasons.

“The chips aren’t something we’d probably go out and buy (if the trees weren’t available), but it is helpful,” said Greg Ross, lead parks maintenance worker for South Lake Tahoe. “I think the biggest benefit of this is to keep the trees out of the landfill.”

While the refuse company and parks departments are able to provide the service for free, they do ask residents to make sure the trees are clean of decorations, tinsel or nails.

“Tinsel causes havoc on our chippers, and nails are really dangerous to our workers,” Burnside said.

Chips from the Christmas trees will be made available for home landscaping. Residents are asked to call (530) 542-6059 to make arrangements.

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