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Trees are turned into mulch and then used for area landscaping

By: Brad Smith Telegraph Correspondent
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For many in the Folsom and El Dorado Hills region, it’s time to say farewell to the Tannenbaum. For those who use artificial Christmas trees, it’s easy to dismantle them and put the pieces back in the box, then wait until next holiday season. But what about those traditionalists who use real trees? While many opt to drop off the trees at the local landfill, the El Dorado Hills Community Services District and the Sacramento Municipal Utilities District (SMUD) have a better idea. SMUD spokesman Chris Capra said another option for Folsom residents is to bring their Christmas trees to the Dan Russell Rodeo Arena between the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 8 and 9. “We would like folks to drop off their trees and then we’ll mulch them for free,” he said. Then, the mulch would be used for landscaping projects throughout the county, he said. “SMUD started this in 1991,” Capra said. “We believe in environmental stewardship and mulching these Christmas trees and using them for landscaping and other projects is a great conservation effort.” Capra said that public support for the treecycling has been strong. “Hundreds of people from all over the county have been taking part in this,” he said. “They know that just dumping a tree in a landfill doesn’t do any good. It’s better to recycle it and put the mulch to good use.” El Dorado Hills residents can drop off their trees at the Community Services District during the same weekend of Jan. 8, between the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There, the trees will be mulched for free as well. Terry Halvorson of the CSD’s parks department said the mulch will be used for local landscaping projects. “We have more than 47 acres of recreational areas to work on,” he said. “That includes 18 parks and a number of ballparks and playgrounds that many people use. For us, it’s a win-win situation. Folks get rid of their trees, we get free mulch to use and everyone benefits from the beautiful parks we have here in El Dorado Hills.” Halvorson said the CSD has been doing this for nearly 10 years. “During that one weekend over the years, we’ve mulched tons of Christmas trees,” he said. “And all of it has been put to good use.” Flocked trees will be accepted at both locations and there’s a limit of five trees per vehicle. Both Capra and Halvorson warned that people need to strip their trees of tinsel, ornaments, nails and even tree stands. “That way, we can avoid some potentially nasty accidents with the chipper,” Halvorson said. A press release from the El Dorado Hills CSD stated that a donation jar will be available in the tree drop-off area. Donations made at the Community Park will go toward the CSD’s youth recreation scholarship fund. Other ways to recycle in El Dorado Hills: Boy Scout troops will be collecting Christmas trees on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. A couple weeks prior, they will distribute envelopes door-to-door with instructions as to when and where to place used Christmas trees for pickup for the recycling program anda request for a donation. The Troops use donations to purchase gear (tents, packs,etc.) for troop activities, and as credit to attend the national jamboree for Scouts who participate in community service projects. Take your Christmas tree to the El Dorado Hills Recycling Center green waste bin at 4421 Latrobe Road, Tuesday through Saturday, 9:30 p.m. — 4 p.m. Deliver up to two Christmas trees per vehicle to the Material Recover Facility, 4100 Throwita Way, Diamond Springs, Jan. 3-16 during normal business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Residential customers may also dispose of the Christmas tree by putting it out at the curb the night before green waste collection service, on yard waste collection weeks only. The tree must be cut into less than 3-foot long sections and bundled with string or twine and placed in the green waste cart. Capra and Halvorson hoped that many people in the area will take advantage of the Jan. 8 weekend-long treecycling events. “If anything, it’s free to the public and you’re helping out the community you live in,” Capra said. “Nice way to end the holidays.”