Discarded Christmas trees able to keep on giving all year 'round
Think of it as a Christmas gift to Mother Nature.
After all, a recycled Christmas tree can end up as mulch on a park trail or a fish habitat in an area lake rather than yet another item atop the landfill heap.
One tree can make an estimated 5 pounds of mulch, according to Westmoreland Cleanways, which coordinates more than a dozen recycling events in the county.
“We get between 1,700 and 2,000 trees,” said Ellen Keefe, Cleanways' executive director. “That's a lot of material that's kept out of the landfill.”
There are eight tree collection sites in the Alle-Kiski Valley.
Among them is one sponsored by Burrell High School's environmental club.
They get between 50 and 75 trees over two Saturdays.
The city of Lower Burrell chips the trees into mulch.
“We do it so the trees don't end up in landfills,” sand club sponsor Amy McGrath, a Burrell High teacher. “A lot of people, years ago, used to throw the trees in Burrell Lake Park — and that was a problem.”
Officials at the Lexington, Ky.-based National Christmas Tree Association estimate 25 million to 30 million live Christmas trees are sold in the United States each year.
The trees can be used to make sand and soil erosion barriers, be sunk into private fish ponds or other bodies of water to make a refuge and feeding area for fish, or placed outside as a bird feeder and sanctuary.
The Army Corps of Engineers places whole trees in the Youghiogheny River Lake to be used as a fish habitat, Park Ranger Ronald Slezak said. Officials at Moraine State Park in Butler County do the same.
The mulch produced in Allegheny County will line trails and be used in plant beds in parks throughout the county, Downs said.
Butler County leaves them whole to be used as fish habitats in area lakes and streams.
“It's been a really successful program,” said Amie Downs, spokeswoman for Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “In previous years, we collected trees in four parks. This year, we're collecting them at all of our parks.”
Dave Mazza, director of the Pennsylvania Resources Council, an environmental organization with an office on Pittsburgh's South Side, said giving new life to trees is natural.
“Mother Nature's been doing it on her own for millions of years,” he said. “You use them for a purpose, recycle it and put back into the system again.”
Jodi Weigand and Adam Brandolph are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Weigand can be reached at 724-226-4702 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Brandolph can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Arnold woman severely injured in Allegheny Township wreck
- Lower Burrell 5th-grader illustrates power of kindness with cancer charity
- Woman killed in Washington Township crash
- Second teen charged in Jan. 1 Tarentum shooting
- Harrison officials discuss grant applications for sidewalks, sewers
- Radioactive radon permeates Western Pennsylvania homes
- Riverview might ask to raise taxes above 2.3% limit
- Harrison man retiring to end 20-year NFL officiating career
- Weather postpones Route 56 closure in New Kensington
- South Butler County School District offers free Pre-K program
- Lower Burrell man charged with stealing copper from Brestensky’s closed meat-packing plant