Taking down the tree: Dispose or recycle?

By Katrina Goforth - katrina@altustimes.com

The presents have been unwrapped, the visitors have gone back home and the Christmas crackers have all been popped, but the tree with its bulbs and bobbles still stands as a reminder of holiday memories made. But what goes up must eventually come down. And taking down the Christmas tree doesn’t have to be a holiday nightmare.

For evergreen trees, there are a few options. Once it’s leafy branches have dried up, you can take it to the city landfill. With a copy of a recent city utility bill and photo ID, you can leave your Christmas tree without being charged a fee. The Altus Municipal Landfill is eight miles west of Altus off U.S. 62 on N1960 Road in Duke.

If a trip to the landfill isn’t an option, the City of Altus asks that you cut your tree into three-foot pieces before placing it in your dumpster, not beside it. Pieces any bigger than this can make it difficult for city trucks to empty dumpsters and may cause them damage.

For those who would prefer to recycle their Christmas tree, there is always the option to use it as firewood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove, but you might have to wait until next Christmas to use it.

According to the Chimney Safety Institute, fresh Christmas trees still filled with sap and other treated wood should never be burned indoors as those oils can create a fire hazard in a chimney or vent piping. However, properly seasoned firewood that has been split for a minimum of six months to one year and stored in a covered and elevated location is not a safety hazard. But if you plan to store your firewood in the alleyways, it is subject to being considered waste and disposed of by city workers.

Plastic trees can also be taken to the landfill under the same guidelines or donated to a secondhand or thrift store if they are still in good condition. This is also an option for unwanted decorations such as ornaments, plastic wreaths, tree skirts and strings of lights that can be used by someone else next year.

By Katrina Goforth


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