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Here’s how to recycle your Christmas tree

Milo Straus unloads his Noble fir Christmas tree at a busy Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center in December, 2012. The center is one of several places where South Sound residents can take their Christmas trees for disposal.
Milo Straus unloads his Noble fir Christmas tree at a busy Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center in December, 2012. The center is one of several places where South Sound residents can take their Christmas trees for disposal. Staff file, 2012

With the gifts unwrapped and the holiday decorations headed back to the closet, it’s getting to be time to dispose of the Christmas tree.

For Pierce County residents with fresh cut trees. this can be as simple as putting the tree inside the yard waste bin.

“Trees collected are composted along with the rest of the yard waste collected in Pierce County,” said Sheryl Rhinehart, outreach coordinator for Pierce County Planning and Public Works. “The finished product is called Cascade Compost, a soil amendment you can buy locally and use in your own garden.”

Here’s what you need to know:

▪  Your tree must be unflocked. (Not adorned with artificial snow. If you have a flocked tree, it needs to be disposed of as garbage.)

▪  The tree must fit inside the bin and the lid must close, so cut it into pieces if necessary. If the tree is not in the container, you might be charged an additional fee.

▪  The tree stand, tinsel, nails, staples and any decorations should be removed from the tree.

▪  Put the bin curbside on the next collection day, which may be different during the holidays.

▪  Another option is taking your flocked tree to a Pierce County transfer station, where you can recycle it for free.

▪  Tacoma, Puyallup, Milton, Orting, and Ruston have their own tree collection programs. Residents should contact their garbage and recycling company for specifics on recycling trees.

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