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Archive for Monday, March 8, 2010

Recycled Christmas trees make a nice gift to wildlife

March 8, 2010

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Fresh animal tracks in the snow lead into a pile of discarded Christmas trees that the city has recycled to create a wildlife habitat on land northwest of the city near the Kansas River levee. City trash crews picked up more than 2,300 Christmas trees during their curbside pickups after the holidays.

Fresh animal tracks in the snow lead into a pile of discarded Christmas trees that the city has recycled to create a wildlife habitat on land northwest of the city near the Kansas River levee. City trash crews picked up more than 2,300 Christmas trees during their curbside pickups after the holidays.

If you recycled your Christmas tree with the city of Lawrence this winter, chances are your tree is helping provide cover for deer, rabbits and other wildlife.

The city collected more than 2,320 trees in the annual recycling program and hauled them to the city landfill, where their branches and limbs provide animals with protection from predators and the winter’s harsh weather.

The trees have been piling up at the landfill in North Lawrence since 1993, when the city first began collecting live cut trees after the holidays. Today, the stack is roughly 8 feet tall and covers a 200-foot area.

“The number of trees collected varies each year,” said Cassandra Ford, a waste reduction and recycling specialist for the city. “This year definitely improved. It’s obvious that a lot more Lawrence residents were involved in the process.”

The Christmas tree recycling service is part of the city’s solid waste service and is included in residents’ monthly fee.

“Residents pay for trash to be picked up, yard waste pickup, recycling services, hazardous waste disposal, and tree-cycling,” said Kathy Richardson, the waste reduction and recycling operations supervisor.

To publicize the effort, the department provides Christmas tree recycling posters to grocery stores that have tree sales in their parking lots, and posts notices with the media and on the city’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

“It’s important to know that the trees being taken from Lawrence homes are serving as a landscape for rabbits, coyotes and deer,” Richardson said. “Any way we can get the word out, we’ll do that.”

Other communities also recycle trees, creating fish and bird habitats as well as landscape mulch.

Jim Twigg, environmental programs coordinator in Overland Park, said that city has four locations for Christmas tree drop-offs.

“The trees are recycled into mulch and used in landscaping, or they are chipped and used for playground material in the city’s parks,” Twigg said. “We managed to collect 2,400 trees this season to be turned into mulch.”

Comments

Sandy Beverly 4 years, 9 months ago

Cool. Thanks, Laura, for writing this. Bet your story will encourage more to recycle their trees next year.

Wonder if spreading the trees out in separate piles would provide more useful shelter?

It's also possible to leave a tree--or a pile of evergreen tree trimmings or even bare branches from your regular yard work--in your own back yard to provide shelter for small animals.

We have a stack of rocks, and my kids and I love to watch the chipmunks scamper to it. They seem to use it for temporary cover, so that they're not exposed to predators for very long.

For more about appreciating the natural world and sharing nature with children, take a look at a new local blog: trackinginthemud.wordpress.com

lounger 4 years, 9 months ago

Good Idea, Sort of...

A lot of christmas trees are grown on christmas tree farms where they are sprayed with nastyness and so on. When the trees are turned into mulch it gets into your lawn, soil, and eventually your body (if used in a veggy garden).

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Janet Lowther 4 years, 9 months ago

"landfill in North Lawrence"

Huh?

The landfill where they take the trash is about halfway to Perry.

Calling it North Lawrence is a pretty hard stretch. I believe that is officially the N. R. Hamm Quarry Landfill, though the sign on the highway calls it the Jefferson-Douglas County land fill.

I guess it does still get a Lawrence address, but that is just a function of how mail is routed.

Of course the Journal-World does tend to ignore the very existence of Jefferson County

Jonathan Kealing 4 years, 9 months ago

jrlii--

This is actually the old city of Lawrence landfill in North Lawrence. You are correct when you mention that current landfill is most of the way to Perry, but this is a different one we're talking about.

Jonathan Kealing Online editor

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