DARKE COUNTY — According to the National Wildlife Federation, 25 to 30 million real Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year.
Where do these end up? Folks might want to give some thought to the post holiday use of their Christmas trees, lights and ornaments. Recycling reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Recycling also achieves the following, according to the EPA: conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals; increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials; prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials; saves energy; supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources and helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States.
In addition, recycled trees can be used to establish fish habitats, create mulch for future plantings and build soil erosion barriers, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Using the trees for these purposes also keeps them from filling up local landfills. Darke County Solid Waste Management District Director Krista K. Fourman said the most important reason to recycle is to conserve space.
“We need to try to save as much landfill space as possible,” she said. “While landfills are covered up, the trash is still there and can pollute the ground, air and water, depending on what is buried there.”
The Darke County Solid Waste Management District is offering free Christmas tree recycling, December 26 to January 16. Trees will be shredded at the Darke County Parks Prairie Preserve on State Route 502, just outside of Greenville. The shredded tree mulch will be used on nature trails throughout the park district, according to Fourman. To have a tree recycled, remove all ornaments, lights, wire, tinsel, and nails. Darke County Solid Waste also recycles Christmas lights and electric chords anytime of the year.
Some other re-purposing ideas include turning old ornaments into wreaths, or placing them in glass bowls for centerpieces. Christmas sweaters can be sewn into Christmas stockings or pillows. Greeting cards can be recycled into next year’s gift tags, made into holiday card garland or sent to DeColores Montessori School, in Greenville.
According to DeColores Montessori School Principal Nancy Dean, the cards are very helpful. She asks that the backs be cut off of the cards, but the school will accept them anyway. She also said the school accepts unused greeting card envelopes.
“Students use the cards for puzzles, art work, crafts, story writing, cutting out words and pictures for grammar lessons, messages and tons of other things,” she said.
For more information about recycling, visit http://co.darke.oh.us/solidwaste
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