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Residents urged to recycle their Christmas trees
Mulch will be available in mid-January
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The presents have all been opened and the stockings emptied.

Christmas came and went and it will soon be time to dispose of that lonely tree. But you won't have to go far.

Hall County has 12 compactor sites that will all be open at 7:30 Monday morning. Trees can also be dropped off at the Hall County Recycling Center on Chestnut Street in Gainesville.

"Basically there's just going to be a staging area to throw the trees in a great big pile," said Jim Sazma, supervisor at the Hall County Recycling Center.

Once dropped off at the compactor sites, trees are recycled to be used for mulch, which will be available to residents for free once the trees have been processed.

Hall County Natural Resources Coordinator Rick Foote said the mulch should be available to disperse in mid-January.

All decorations, as well as the stand, must be removed from trees prior to taking them to the site.

Sazma said the compactor sites fill up quickly with recycled trees beginning the morning after Christmas.

"It's really amazing how fast people take their trees down. It always has amazed me," he said.

Although Christmas trees are natural vegetation, county officials don't recommend simply tossing them at the most convenient location.

"They don't need to be dumped on the sides of the roads or anything like that," Sazma said.

Some people even throw their trees in small ponds or into Lake Lanier to act as habitats for marine life.

But officials recommend doing that on a limited basis to avoid cluttering the bodies of water.

Also, some trees are sprayed with flame retardant solution before being sold, which can pollute the water.

"Putting a bunch of trees in a small pond is not a good idea," said Cindy Reed, executive director of Keep Hall Beautiful. "If they have too much of that flame retardant on them and they get too many in a small body of water ,it will kill the fish."

Other counties offer similar programs, including Dawson and Habersham.

Dawson County residents can also take their trees to the local transfer station and recycling center, 946 Burt Creek Road, beginning Tuesday. Trees will not be accepted at the Home

Depot as in previous years, said Cathy Brooks, executive director of Bring One for the Chipper.
Trees will be accepted between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Jan. 14.

Keep Habersham Beautiful will also be collecting trees from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 7 at Lowes, 281 Carpenters Cove Lane, Cornelia.

White County residents will have four locations to drop off Christmas trees beginning Dec. 29 through March 3. Those locations include the Transfer Station at 670 Industrial Blvd., Cleveland, 30528, as well as the Convenience and Recycling Center at 519 Hulsey Road, Cleveland, 30528. The transfer station is open 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3:45 on Saturday. The Convenience Center is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday, as well as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The other two White County drop off locations are open 24/7 at the intersection of Quillian and E. Underwood Streets in Cleveland, as well as the intersection of Edelweiss Strasse and Chattahoochee Strasse.

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