Recycling those Christmas trees instead of throwing them away

3 cities have ways to do just that
Dec. 29, 2012 @ 05:40 PM

Christmas is over, but the city of Gatlinburg is handing out more presents.

On Wednesday and Thursday, Jan. 2 and 3, the city will sponsor its annual Christmas tree exchange. People who bring a Christmas tree to the city greenhouse from 3-5 p.m. will receive a pecan, bald cypress or tulip poplar tree.

The greenhouse is next to the Gatlinburg Community Center, 156 Proffitt Road.

The Christmas trees are recycled.

"They're mulched up, put through a chipper," said Parks and Recreation Director Marty Nicely. "We use them for mulch around plants."

The trees the city gives away are "what you would call bare root," said Nicely. "Probably three feet. They're small."

The city has been running the program for more than 10 years, Nicely said.

People who do not want to participate in the exchange can drop off Christmas trees at the greenhouse any time until Tuesday, Jan. 8.

Christmas trees also can be dropped off for recycling at the Pigeon Forge Community Center parking lot through Jan. 4.

Until last year, the city of Sevierville also sponsored a Christmas tree exchange.

"Use has dwindled," said city spokesman Bob Stahlke. "Only a handful last year took advantage."

Stahlke said city garbage customers can leave their trees curbside. The Public Works Department will take them to the Sevier Solid Waste facility, where they will be mulched. "So it's still environmentally friendly."

kburns@themountainpress.com