Recycling your Christmas Tree — where and how to do it
Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Steve Johnson, owner of Lazy J Tree Farm east of Port Angeles, pushes a pile of discarded Christmas trees into a pile Friday for chipping and composting.
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The parties are over, visiting family members have gone home, and soon it will be time to take down lights and decorations — and answer the annual question: What does one do with the Christmas tree?
Recycle it, suggests Helen Freilich, city of Port Angeles waste reduction specialist.
“The most efficient and environmentally sensitive way to dispose of live Christmas trees is to recycle them,” she said.
Curbside pickup will be provided in the cities of Port Angeles and Port Townsend next week.
Sequim residents can schedule tree pickup with Boy Scout Troop 1491. Troop members will pick up Christmas trees for recycling or disposal for a donation today and Saturday only.
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The Scouts will take trees to Lazy J Tree Farm, 225 Gehrke Road near Port Angeles, for recycling.
Lazy J also will accept trees from individuals, said owner Steve Johnson.
“I'll take any kind of Christmas tree back for free whether I sold them or not,” Johnson said.
Those in Port Townsend or in unincorporated areas of East Jefferson County can take trees to Port Townsend's Biosolids Composting Facility at the Jefferson County Waste Management Facility at 325 County Landfill Road, off Jacob Miller Road, for a minimum charge of $5.
Clallam County residents can take trees to transfer facilities in Port Angeles, 3501 W. 18th St., and LaPush, 272 LaPush Road. Both cost $5.
Christmas trees will not be accepted at the Blue Mountain Transfer Station between Port Angeles and Sequim.
The station at 1469 Blue Mountain Road will be open for recycling from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays only beginning this Saturday — but it does not accept yard waste, Freilich said.
“It will be open Saturday for traditional recycling only,” she said.
The station had been closed since a Nov. 10 fire. No date has been set for a full reopening.
Here are details of recycling opportunities for live Christmas trees:
Curbside pickup within the city begins Monday and extends through Friday.
Trees must be cut into 4-foot lengths; bundled; with no tinsel, flock or ornaments; and put out on the regular garbage collection day.
It is not required to be a yard waste subscriber to get this once-a-year free service.
“Customers who are not yard waste subscribers but want their tree picked up need to call Waste Connections at 360-452-7278,” Freilich said.
“That way, they can be sure it will be collected.”
Troop 1491 Scouts, who will pick up trees today and Saturday only, will accept donations that will go toward such troop activities as summer camp and a river rafting trip, said Peter Craig, scoutmaster.
Suggested donation is about $10, said Michael Thill, executive chairman.
“We've had some very generous people give more,” he said.
As of New Year's Eve, 40 pickups had been scheduled, Thill said, and the troop can handle as many as needed.
“We have a lot of different families going out to pick them up,” he said.
To schedule pickup, phone 360-582-0327.
Residents of the unincorporated areas of Clallam County, or city residents who prefer to haul their own trees to sites, have choices:
■ The Regional Transfer Station in Port Angeles at 3501 W. 18th St. charges $5 minimum and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Tuesdays and Thursdays through Saturdays — and so is open this Saturday for trees.
Go to the yard debris area. The live trees will be mixed with other yard debris and made into compost.
The city sells Garden Glory compost for $20 a cubic yard.
For more information, phone Freilich at 360-417-4874 or email email@example.com.
■ The West Waste Transfer Facility, 272 LaPush Road, charges a $5 minimum fee and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.
■ Lazy J Tree Farm will take trees for free. It is open every day from 8 a.m. to dusk.
The whole tree — of any size — can be brought to Johnson's tub grinder, where he grinds them up for compost.
“Undecorated would be nice,” he added.
Johnson said he does not encourage flocked trees but will take them.
“Not many flocked ones come in. It's a drop in the bucket,” he said.
“I hate to see them not recycled.”
Flocking is basically cellulose, normally, Johnson said.
City of Port Townsend curbside-recycling customers can place their trees out for regular yard waste pickup beginning Monday and extending through Friday.
If the tree is more than 4 feet tall, it must be cut in half before being placed for pickup.
Trees with flocking or tinsel will be taken as garbage, and customers will be charged extra accordingly, the city said.
Customers inside or outside Port Townsend can take trees for a $5 minimum charge to the facility off Jacob Miller Road, which is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, including this Saturday.
Trees need to be clean. No flocked trees will be accepted, and all tinsel, ornaments and wood stands must be removed prior to recycling.
The trees will be ground up and mixed with biosolids from the wastewater treatment facility and will be composted.
For more information, phone DM Disposal at 360-385-6612.
Last modified: January 05. 2014 8:52AM