Recycle & make it a green Christmas

Posted by Justin Havre. on Monday, December 28th, 2015 at 12:01pm.

Photo courtesy City of Calgary

Joy to the world – it’s over!  Time to deal with the left overs.

If you have a real Christmas tree, the City of Calgary encourages you to recycle it.  It’s estimated that there are 35,000 trees slowly drying out in Calgary homes and by recycling your tree, you’ll keep these trees from taking up space in the landfill.

It’s going to be a busy time for city sanitation crews so by following these steps you’ll be keeping them on time.

Tree Pickup

If you live in a household where there is residential collection from the City of Calgary, you can leave your tree out for pick up.  The deadline to have your tree out beside your black and blue cars is Friday, January 8, 2016 at 7:00 a.m.  It will be picked up on your regularly schedule garbage collection day.

Prepare Your Tree for Pickup

Ensure that you have taken off all the lights, ornaments, garland, string, tinsel and remove it from the tree stand.  You may have been provided with a recycling bag from the place you purchased your tree from before Christmas.  The City of Calgary requests that you don’t use this bag or wrap it in anything.  If you wrapped your tree just to keep the needles from dropping all over your house, please remove the wrap.

Drop-off Location

The City of Calgary provides drop-off locations for discarded Christmas trees.  Check with the City’s website for location announcements. Remember, Christmas trees (live or artificial can’t be recycled in your blue or green cart. The trunks of pine and fir trees don’t break down easily and don’t’ make good compost. The branches however can go in the green cart, however, make sure the branches are cut into pieces so that the lid of your green cart will still close.  A discarded live tree can go in your black cart provided it is also cut into small pieces, however if you throw your tree out in this manner it will go into the landfill and can’t be turned into mulch. As well, the tree has to fit in your card so that the lid will close properly.

What Happens to Recycled Trees?

Live trees collected by the city are put thru a chipper and turned into mulch.  This mulch is free for residents to use, while quantities last, and is available at the East Calgary Landfill.  It has to be picked up by hand as equipment such as bobcats aren’t allowed at the landfill.  You are limited to one or two truckloads.

Tips on using Mulch

The mulch that the city provides free of charge is best used on the ground around evergreens and is great for retaining ground water and keeping weeds down.  It is, however, quite acidic and probably not a good idea to use in areas of the garden when there flowers.

Recycling Artificial Trees

If you’re through with your fake tree, there are just two choices.  If it’s still in good condition, give it away or break it up and throw it away in your black cart.  No part of an artificial Christmas tree can go in your blue cart.

Recycling Other Holiday Material

  • Wrapping paper (non-metallic) can be crumbled into balls and thrown in the black cart.  Don’t tie paper up or stuff into bags.
  • Cardboard boxes are acceptable, of any size as long as you can close the lid of your blue cart.
  • Paper gift bags can be recycled; however you must take off the handles before you throw it in the blue cart.
  • Cards and envelopes.
  • Bubble wrap in a clear plastic bag.

Holiday Material for your Black Cart

Some items can’t be recycled and have to be just thrown out.  That includes:

  • Foil wrapping paper
  • Ribbons, bows and string
  • Ornaments that have broken and left-over tree tinsel
  • Plastic and foam packaging

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