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Hall offers seedlings for recycled Christmas trees

POSTED: January 3, 2009 12:30 a.m.

Damen Bassett, a consultant with IBM, tosses his Christmas tree into a pile Friday at the Flowery Branch compactor site. Bassett decided to trash the tree after he noticed it was dying and dropping needles at his home. Today is Bring One For the Chipper Day, when everyone who brings a tree to a Hall County site will receive a free seedling.

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Christmas has come and gone, and it’s time for the tree to come down.

If you opt for the live variety, you have an opportunity to recycle your Christmas tree and, if you’re fast enough, get a seedling to plant in your own yard.

Today is the annual Bring One for the Chipper event, which is billed as the nation’s largest Christmas tree recycling party.

At all 13 Hall County compactor sites, residents can drop off their tree and receive a white flowering dogwood, oak catalpa or red cedar seedling, courtesy of the Georgia Forestry Commission.

Hall County residents have been dropping off trees at the compactor sites since Dec. 26, according to Rick Foote, the county’s natural resource coordinator. He said some people are anxious to get their tree out of the house while others are not.

“One year, we had someone drop off a tree in June,” Foote said. “It wasn’t in the best of shape.”

The only requirements for dropping off trees is that all artificial material has been removed. This includes ornaments, icicles, all lights and wiring.

Foote says that within a few weeks, the county will chip the trees, and the mulch will be available at the Hall County Recycling Center at 1008 Chestnut St.

Since its inception in 1991, Keep Georgia Beautiful’s Bring One For The Chipper program has encouraged and educated Georgians to “chip” versus “trash” their Christmas trees. Informed with useful information about the tree recycling, Georgians have responded. Working together, Bring One For The Chipper and volunteers statewide have collected and recycled nearly 5 million trees.

The recycled or “chipped” tree has many post-holiday uses.

In 2008, nearly 200,000 trees were collected and recycled into mulch for playgrounds, city and county landscaping projects and individual homes.

Many other trees were sunk into lakes across the state to provide fish habitat.

Foote said Christmas wreaths with live foliage are difficult to recycle because the greenery is often intertwined with wire or is deeply lodged into the artificial circle of the wreath.


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