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Where to discard live Christmas trees

Clayton, Henry provide free chipping, mulch

Photo by Elaine Rackley
Robert Clark (left) and Casey Tapley load  Christmas trees into a chipper for recycling. The Locust Grove workers are shredding the discarded trees into mulch.

Photo by Elaine Rackley Robert Clark (left) and Casey Tapley load Christmas trees into a chipper for recycling. The Locust Grove workers are shredding the discarded trees into mulch.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Those three words are often used to encourage

people to take care of the environment.

The holidays offer an opportunity to put the principles into

practice, according to Edie Yongue, executive director for Keep

Forest Park Beautiful. She said that is why “Bring One for the

Chipper,” is being conducted county-wide in a Christmas-tree

recycling event for Clayton County residents, who will be able to

discard their non-artificial, live Christmas trees.

Until Saturday, Jan. 7, several sites in Clayton are available for

residents to drop off trees to be recycled, including: Riverdale

Middle School, at 400 Roberts Drive, Riverdale; Lillie E. Sudder

Elementary School, 1400 Lake Jodeco Road, in Jonesboro, and Kemp

Elementary School, at 10990 Folsom Road, in Hampton.

Then, on Jan. 7, from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m., Home Depot stores in

Riverdale, Morrow, Lovejoy and Forest Park, will actually take care

of the recycling.

No name has been given to the recycling effort in neighboring Henry

County, but residents can bring their trees to the Henry County

Recycling Center, free of charge, said Henry County spokesperson,

Julie Hoover-Ernst. The Henry County Recycling Center is located at

65 West Asbury Road, in McDonough. Free mulch will be available later.

One Henry County city, Locust Grove, provides for its own

recycling, and the effort already has started. Live trees are chipped

in a parking lot of Locust Grove City Hall.

“We encourage people to bring their live Christmas trees to city hall

to be chipped,” said Ray Fuss, arborist and development inspector for

Locust Grove. “I want to emphasize recycling, because it lessens the

impact on our landfill for the future.”

Mulch is given to those who request it.

Fuss said the mulch is used for architectural landscaping and

composting. “We are part of Tree City USA,” said Fuss. “We [have]

participated in the architectural conservation and landscaping, for

the past 11 years.”

Fuss oversees the selection of trees for the city. For example, he

will be choosing replacement trees for the Locust Grove shops area.

He recently completed a project near the city’s Walmart store, where

nearly 200 species of trees were planted in March.

The Henry County recycling center is open Monday through Friday, from

8 a.m., to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, from 8 a.m., to 2 p.m. For more

information, call (770) 288-6410.

Clayton County has been engaged in tree recycling for 27 years, said

Yongue. The tree recycling program was part of the Keep Clayton

County Beautiful program, until 2010, when the county’s Board of

Commissioners voted to eliminate the program, because of budget cuts,

said Yongue.

Yongue said the Christmas tree recycling event is promoted throughout

the county. “We do our best to push this event to all the residents

in the county,” she said. Even so, Yongue said she is astounded by

the number of Christmas trees still being discarded in less-

responsible ways –– ways that are not conducive to protecting the

environment.

“With seven [tree recycling] sites,” she said, “we still have

people dumping trees along the side of the roads and ditches.”

She said, in the last three years, she has noticed a decline in

residents recycling trees, with 1,700 to 2,000 trees tallied last

year, compared to about 4,000 holiday trees years ago.

Yongue said on Jan. 7, when the various Home Depot locations chip

trees, volunteers have agreed to deliver the mulch to the homes of

those who request it, free of charge.

However, she said, there is a catch. Those accepting the order must

take the full truckload of mulch (about 5,000 cubic yards).

In addition to asking residents to recycle, Yongue said, Keep Forest

Park Beautiful also is promoting gardening. The Ferry Morse Seed

Manufacturing company will give away free flower seeds.