Recycling Christmas trees means more than dragging it to the street

BY LEESHA FAULKNER

Daily Journal

TUPELO – Talk about recycling Christmas trees, and some folks look at you like you're a radical tree hugger.

But recycling Christmas trees started back in Europe about 500 years ago, when families reused Christmas trees to burn on the evening of the Epiphany, Jan. 6, to celebrate the wise men's visit to Bethlehem.

The fires that burned all over Europe served as a reminder of the star in the East that guided the wise men to Jesus in the manger.

Now, recycling or reusing the trees has become a sort of politically correct thing to do. Facts are, according to the experts, most landfills won't take Christmas trees as trash. But there's hope your tree will live long after Christmas in some fashion.

The city has opened four Christmas tree recycling sites over the city: North Veterans Boulevard, Ballard Park, the compost site on North Front Street and Theron Nichols Park. The sites are available until Jan. 21.

Chipped trees, says Sherrie Cochran, environmental coordinator for the city, could become mulch for use by the city or its residents. “It could become compost in the compost site on North Front Street,” she said.

That compost, said Cochran, could be used in the spring and summer to help vegetable gardens.

For years, many people with ponds or lakes have used old Christmas trees to provide shade and hiding spots for fish. That means people who know about fishing know to go to the spots where the fish hide. So, the recycling works both for the fish and the angler.

Experts suggest several trees grouped together make the best pond habitat, but if the tinsel and hooks aren't removed, the fish will get hurt. Also, they advise tying weights to the trees or puting them in a bucket of cement so they'll stay in place.

But trees shouldn't go in public waters or on other property without permission. Tree recyclers should check with the state Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to see if they'll take them.

Contact Leesha Faulkner at 678-1590 or leesha.faulkner@djournal.com