Residents asked to recycle trees

By Clay Wilson

Holiday leftovers: There's the ham or turkey, the sausage balls, the sundry vegetable casseroles, and maybe a few cookies. There are likely also stacks of boxes, mounds of paper and a Christmas tree that's beginning to look a little past its prime.

On the day after Christmas, many families in Clayton and Henry counties are dealing with the detritus of the holiday just past. And county authorities are encouraging residents to look to the recycle bin, rather than the trash bin, for help in dealing with the spectre.

"The county is getting more into the recycling frame of mind, I guess, than in previous years," said Henry County Recycling Center Manager Bobby Stanford. Stanford became manager of the center on Asbury Road in McDonough when the county took over its operation in November. He works for Peach State Recycling, the company the county contracts to run the center.

Stanford said that gift wrap can be recycled. He said it should go into the bin with newsprint. Most cardboard boxes can be recycled, as well. Stanford reminded residents that the boxes should be broken down before being placed into the bin.

For those who want to put some of their old merchandise that has been replaced with new gifts to good use, Stanford suggested donating to the Atlanta Association on Developmental Disabilities. The organization has donation bins at the recycling center where residents can place wearable used clothing, working appliances and other useable household items.

Again this year, Henry County is participating in the state's annual "Bring One for the Chipper" Christmas tree recycling program. According to county Public Works Director Michael Harris, this is at least the second year the county has participated in the program. A press release from Henry County Public Information Officer Larry Stanford says that since its inception, the program has recycled almost 3 million Christmas trees.

According to Harris, the mulch from the trees is used throughout the county for such purposes as erosion control and landscaping. "We use wood chips all over the county," he said. There will be two chippers at the recycling center – one belonging to the county and the other to the Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority. And according to Bobby Stanford, the two machines likely will stay busy.

He said he expects the center to take in up to 500 Christmas trees. Jan. 3 is the kick-off date for the recycling program in both Clayton and Henry counties. Harris said the Henry center is encouraging residents to bring in their trees the week of the 3rd through the 10th.

Those who bring theirs on Jan. 3 will receive a free dogwood seedling. In Clayton County, the "Chipper" program will run through Jan. 13 or 14. There will be several drop-off points in Clayton County, including the county recycling center on Spur Highway in Jonesboro, the Home Depot on Mt. Zion Road in Morrow, the Home Depot on Jonesboro Road and Tara Stadium on Battlecreek Road.

Harris said the program serves two purposes: keeping the county clean and finding uses for discarded Christmas trees. "One of the main reasons for doing this is to keep people from throwing their trees on the side of the road," he said. "If you give everybody a central location (to which) to bring their trees, then it keeps the county neater, and it also allows the trees to be recycled."