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Santa Monica : Recycling Sites for Trees

Oh, Christmas tree.

Oh, Christmas tree.

How limply hang thy branches.

Drooping Christmas trees lined up on the curb waiting for trash pickup are more than just forlorn. They take up lots of scarce space in landfills, when they are still perfectly useful for compost and mulch (think of all those pine needles on the floor of the forest).

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For the fourth year, Santa Monica is sponsoring a Christmas tree recycling project at four city parks. Residents can drop off their trees between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Jan. 4 and Jan 11. All decorations, including tinsel and nails, must be removed. The parks are: Clover Park, at 26th Street and Ocean Park Boulevard; Douglas Park, at Wilshire Boulevard and Chelsea Avenue; Lincoln Park at California Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard, and Los Amigos Park, at 5th Street and Hollister Avenue.

The city’s waste reduction coordinator, Jon Root, said the trees will be shredded and used to make mulch, compost and other gardening materials. Last year, trees weighing an estimated 35 tons were saved from the landfill and born again by helping other things grow, Root said.

But the city has an ulterior motive--introducing residents to composting. Root said volunteers at the parks will demonstrate the composting process and will sell back yard composting bins recently purchased by Santa Monica.

It’s all part of Santa Monica’s effort to recycle. Ultimately, this will save people money. Under a new refuse collection plan, households will be charged for collection based on how much trash they toss out, Root said.

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Composting involves mixing organic materials such as grass trimmings, leaves and food scraps and leaving them to naturally disintegrate into nutrient-rich soil additives. Root said composting could divert up to 30% of a household’s trash.


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