Christmas trees ready for recycling

FOREST PARK — Once the gifts have been unwrapped and dinner consumed, it’s amazing how fast that once-adored, lovingly decorated Christmas tree becomes the elephant in the room.

What to do with it now? Although organic, it can take decades for a tree to decompose on its own in the wild. Dumped on the side of the road, trees will eventually be picked up by public works employees or community service workers.

Isn’t it better to do the right thing by the tree that brought so much joy for such a brief amount of time?

Luckily, there’s a plan for that. Keep Forest Park Beautiful takes all dropped-off unwanted trees and turns them into mulch used in beautification projects.

The agency, which operates under Keep America Beautiful, typically focuses on Forest Park residents and businesses but the recycling project is open to all Clayton County residents, said Executive Director Edie Yongue.

Starting Thursday, residents can drop off trees at Riverdale Middle School on Roberts Road in Riverdale; the vacant lot next to Suder Elementary on Jodeco Road in Jonesboro and Kemp Primary School on Folsom Road in Hampton.

The collection sites will operate until Jan. 5, which is the same day trees will be accepted at Home Depot stores throughout the county, said Yongue.

Trees will be accepted from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Jan. 5 at Home Depot in Morrow, Lovejoy, Riverdale and Forest Park.

All donated trees must be free of decorations. Free tree or vegetable seedlings will be handed out at Home Depot in exchange for donated trees.