Christmas tree recycling puts bow on holiday

Aaron Barry, of Lower Burrell, unloads a Christmas tree from atop his car at the tree recycling pile at the Lower Burrell Municipal Building on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013.
Aaron Barry, of Lower Burrell, unloads a Christmas tree from atop his car at the tree recycling pile at the Lower Burrell Municipal Building on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013.
Photo by Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
Jodi Weigand
| Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, 12:02 a.m.

Burrell High School's Christmas tree recycling effort is a big help, said residents who dropped off their trees on Saturday.

“I think it's a wonderful thing they do, and I have nowhere else to put it so I brought it right over,” said Tom Boak, of Lower Burrell, whose family had its first live Christmas tree this year.

Members of Burrell High's Environmental Club help unload the trees and then stack them in a pile at the Lower Burrell Municipal Building. The trees are later chipped into mulch for use in the city parks.

They collect between 50 and 75 trees over two Saturdays. About a dozen people dropped off trees this Saturday.

“We'll probably get a big rush next week,” said Environmental Club sponsor Amy McGrath, a Burrell High teacher. She handled the collection on her own last week, but expects a handful of students to help at the next collection on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

One Christmas tree can make an estimated 5 pounds of mulch. The trees also 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.

“It's a nice alternative to sending them to the landfill,” McGrath said. “Enough of our stuff ends up there.”

Aaron Barry of Lower Burrell said he sometimes sees discarded Christmas trees lying in the woods. So he's pleased that city residents have a place to properly dispose of them.

“Every year we come over to drop off our tree,” he said. “It's nice to have a place to put it.”

Several residents noted that their trash hauler doesn't accept live Christmas trees. Others said they feel good about their tree being repurposed.

“It's a great program, I'm glad they do it,” said Jeremy Bluebaugh of Lower Burrell.

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4702 or jweigand@tribweb.com.

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