Chipping of the Green, the community’s annual Christmas tree recycling program, will kick off Wednesday for Yuletide revelers who are ready to bid farewell to their living room’s evergreen friends. The tree-to mulch-to consumer initiative will continue through Saturday, Jan. 12.
“Recycling your Christmas tree not only makes good environmental sense, it’s also free,” according to Cheryl Dunson, executive vice president of marketing for Santek Waste Services Inc.
It’s also easy.
“This is readily available at a number of locations in our community and it results in a valuable resource,” Dunson said. “So, once you’ve packed up your Christmas ornaments and salvaged all the bows and ribbons for next year, give your Christmas tree an environmentally fitting farewell.”
Gone are the days when discarded Christmas trees are automatically, and unceremoniously, dispatched to the curbside or to trash cans or to the gully at the back property line because no other options exist. Now, a key one does and its popularity continues to grow throughout Cleveland and Bradley County.
It’s also happening in other towns across America whose residents and government leaders recognize the value of recycling, especially when it can help the environment and keep unnecessary discards out of the landfills.
According to the National Christmas Tree Association website, “Tree recycling and mulching programs are a fast-growing trend in communities throughout the nation. They chip and shred the trees, then make the mulch available for use in gardens.”
That’s the exact practice used by Chipping of the Green.
Once area residents have removed their live trees’ lights and ornaments, they are encouraged to take the evergreens to either of three locations for chipping. These include:
1. The Bradley County Landfill on Pleasant Grove Road near McDonald whose hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and on Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. The chipping of discarded Christmas trees into mulch takes place at the landfill.
2. The Urbane Road Recycling Center whose hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 1:30 to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
3. The Peerless Road Recycling Center whose hours are Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 1:30 to 5 p.m.
Another convenience for all recyclers — old and new — is those wanting to use the recycling centers as their dropoffs are not limited to the operating hours.
“Residents can just drop their trees outside the gate at the recycling centers regardless of whether we’re open,” according to Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis, a longtime supporter of recycling initiatives, especially those that are kind to the landfill and helpful to the environment. “We’ll make sure they get transported to the landfill where they’ll be chipped.”
The Chipping of the Green initiative — whose mulch is available to the public free of charge — is made possible by a diverse partnership that not only includes Santek and the mayor’s office, but also the Bradley County Road Department which supplies the chipper, and the Bradley County Commission.
The use of live evergreens in homes every Christmas season is actually an indirect support for those concerned about the environment, according to the NCTA website and to a press statement by Dunson announcing this season’s launch of Chipping of the Green.
She quoted from the NCTA page, “... For every Christmas tree harvested, as many as three more are planted which helps to counteract possible greenhouse effects, produces oxygen and clean water, and provides a habitat for wildlife.”
In the joint announcement by Santek and the mayor’s office, the environmental partners encouraged area residents to take advantage of other source reduction programs at the three local recycling collection centers.
“Year-round, all sites accept glass, aluminum, cardboard, mixed paper and newsprint,” Davis said. “The Peerless Road Recycling Center also accepts electronics and all types of plastics; and the landfill also accepts waste oils, lead-acid batteries and white goods.”
Additional information about Chipping of the Green or Bradley County’s recycling efforts may be obtained by contacting Dunson at 303-7107.