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Westmoreland Christmas tree recycling locations help environment

| Thursday, Dec. 23, 2010

With the holiday season upon us, Westmoreland Cleanways encourages everyone to continue the spirit of giving by recycling live Christmas trees.

After the festivities are finished, take your tree to one of 19 drop-off sites located throughout Westmoreland County. The trees will either be chipped into mulch by the municipalities and used to beautify community parks or placed in natural areas to provide wildlife habitat. Last year, roughly 3 tons of mulch made from approximately 1,200 trees collected in Westmoreland County was diverted from landfills and used in local communities.

According to the National Christmas Tree Association in the United States alone, close to 350 million Christmas trees are growing on tree farms, all planted by farmers. These tree farms support complex ecosystems. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, while each acre of trees growing provides the daily oxygen requirements for 18 people. Approximately 350,000 acres in the United States are used for the production of growing Christmas trees, with much of it preserving green space.

To find out more about real Christmas trees and where to find a local Christmas tree farm, visit here .

In contrast, 85 percent of artificial trees are factory-made in China using methods that consume natural resources. Typically, the type of plastic that artificial trees are made from is PVC, which can be a potential source of lead. Lead-containing PVC can be harmful to children and pets. The plastic used in manufactured trees is also a petroleum by-product. They are nonbiodegradable and not recyclable or renewable. Most will eventually end up in landfills, where they will remain for centuries.

Recycling Christmas trees returns them to nature, completing the recycling loop and making every part of it beneficial. Once the tree is chipped, the chips can be used for mulch or as a surface for hiking trails. The chips then decompose into valuable humus, nourishing and renewing the soil. Many communities depend on recycled Christmas trees to provide wildlife habitats, prevent beach front erosion, improve shoreline stabilization on rivers and lakes, and improve fish habitat.

There is no cost to recycle your Christmas tree, but some organizations hosting tree recycling sites collect donations to fund their own projects.

Sponsors of this year's Christmas tree recycling program include: Westmoreland Cleanways, the Westmoreland County Sportsmen's League, the James A. Rutter Company in Murrysville, the Penn Township Commissioners and the Borough of Youngwood.

Locations

Local Westmoreland Cleanways Christmas Tree recycling locations and sponsors are:

Armbrust : Wilkinson Nurseries, Route 819, from Dec. 26 to Jan. 23, open drop-off.

Donegal : Westmoreland Woodlands Association, 3/4-mile north of Donegal on Route 711, Echo Valley Lane -- look for signs, Jan. 5 to 31, open drop-off.

Mt. Pleasant Borough : municipal compost site between Kennedy Avenue and North Depot Street, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays Dec. 27 to Jan. 31, closed weekends.

Scottdale : Greenridge Reclamation Landfill, 234 Landfill Road, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays Dec. 27 to Jan. 31, closed weekends.

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