Christmas tree recycling highlights composting in Riverside County

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RIVERSIDE COUNTY – The holiday season always ends with plenty of returns, and the Christmas tree is no exception. Return a natural Christmas tree to the ground it grew in by dropping it off at a Riverside County landfill to be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.

Through the free Christmas tree drop-off program, natural trees collected at the Badlands and Lamb Canyon landfills will be chipped and combined with food waste from the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning to create compost. This program at Lamb Canyon is an innovative way to ensure that organic waste is diverted away from landfill burial, recycled and turned into a soil amendment.

Natural Christmas trees must be prepared for recycling by removing all decorations, lights, tinsel and tree stands. Flocked trees cannot be recycled through this program and need to be cut up and placed in the regular trash container.

Other natural Christmas trees that are recycled at free drop-off sites, or at the curb, will be taken to local green-waste processors to be recycled into compost or mulch. Most trash haulers will collect Christmas trees curbside for two weeks after Christmas. Place the prepared tree next to or inside the green-waste container on the regular pickup day. Trees over 4 feet tall should be cut in half. Contact the waste hauler for more details.

For those without a curbside pickup program, several drop-off locations will accept up to three properly prepared residential Christmas trees for free through Jan. 4.

Lua Wood Recycling is at 18938 Mermack Ave. in Lake Elsinore. B.P. John Recycling is accepting trees until Jan. 31 at 28700 Matthews Road in Romoland.

Burrtec Recycle Center, 41-800 Corporate Way, in Palm Desert and Burrtec/Robert A. Nelson Transfer Station, 1830 Agua Mansa Road, in Riverside are accepting trees from Burrtec customers only.

Riverside County Badlands Landfill, 31125 Ironwood Ave., in Moreno Valley and Riverside County Lamb Canyon Landfill, 16411 Lamb Canyon Road, in Beaumont are accepting trees until Jan. 4.

Unfortunately, trees that are not recycled at drop-off locations or through curbside pickup will only occupy space in landfills.

For more information on this program, call the Riverside County Department of Waste Resources (951) 486-3200 or visit the waste guide at www.rcwaste.org/wasteguide/holiday for additional green holiday suggestions.

Submitted by Riverside County.