Christmas trees, lights head toward recycling destinations

Christmas trees, lights head toward recycling destinations

Haulers, municipalities and recyclers offer holiday decoration recycling options.

January 4, 2016

With the 2015-2016 holiday season over, homeowners and business managers with seasonal decorations in some parts of the country are being offered recycling options for Christmas trees and holiday lights.

In southern Nevada, Republic Services, the Springs Preserve nature district and the University of Nevad – Las Vegas (UNLV) have announced they have partnered with retailer Lowe’s for their annual Southern Nevada Christmas Tree Recycling Program. This year’s program runs through Jan. 15, 2016.

The coalition of companies has made more than 30 drop-off locations available for southern Nevada residents to recycle their trees. Once collected from the various drop-off sites, Republic Services transports the trees to Springs Preserve, where they are chipped into mulch products.

Las Vegas area residents have recycled more than 175,000 trees since the program started counting trees in 2001, according to a Republic Services news release, creating more than 1,500 tons of mulch. Republic says after the 2014-2015 holiday season, the landfill diversion rate for Christmas trees in the region hit an estimated 63 percent.

“Local landfill volume was spared by 2,108 cubic yards—roughly the equivalent size of eight large school buses,” says Republic.

In Prince George’s County, Maryland, a Christmas tree recycling program is running through Jan. 29, 2016. The Prince George’s County Department of Environment  says it is “making it easy for residents to recycle cut Christmas trees (no artificial trees) by offering convenient drop-off locations and curbside pickup.”

In Rapid City, South Dakota, holiday lighting is the focus of a recycling effort offered by that city’s government, according to an announcement on the city’s website.

Rapid City Recycles, part of the city’s Public Works department, has placed seven bins around the city at sites such as the main library and the Public Safety Building to collect nonworking and other unwanted strings of Christmas lights.

“This is a project that is very simple, easy and will keep the lights out of the landfill and saves the metal,” says Rapid City Recycles, adding that approximately 12,000 pounds of lights were collected following the 2014-2015 holiday season.