Cities urge residents to recycle trees

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Cities urge residents to recycle trees

ELYSE AMEND

elyse.amend@transcontinetal.ca

While the gifts have all been unwrapped and the turkey leftovers have been put into Tupperware containers for later use, chances are your Christmas tree is still standing as a reminder of another Dec. 25 gone by. But when the time comes to get rid of the festive fir, some West Island municipalities are asking residents to think twice before sending the trees to the landfill. “You don’t want things to decompose in a landfill, because it produces methane gas, which is a greenhouse gas emission,” said Kate Coulter, Beaconsfield councilor and head of the city’s environment committee. “Why not recycle your tree so it can be reused as mulch?”

Beaconsfield has been promoting Christmas tree recycling since the early 1990s. Beginning Jan.3, 2008, residents will be able to bring their trees – stripped of all lights, nails, decorations, garlands and tinsel -- to the public works building at 300 Beaurepaire Blvd. or to one of the eight park chalets listed in the December 2007 issue of Beaconsfield’s Contact magazine. The trees will be chipped and turned into mulch, which Beaconsfield residents will be able to use in their gardens in the spring. “Any kind of mulch keeps your soil moist, so you don’t have to water as much. It keeps down the weeds. It’s multipurpose,” Coulter said.

This will be Pointe Claire’s second year holding a Christmas tree recycling campaign. According to Mayor Bill McMurchie, the city collected 18 tonnes of Christmas trees in January 2007, which as all sent to St. Michel to be composted. The compost was returned to Pointe Claire for residents to use. McMurchie said he hopes the recycling program will be as successful this year. “We’re committed to reducing our input into sanitary landfills by a very substantial proportion by December 2008,” McMurchie said. “The tree recycling program is in direct line with, not only what we want to do and with what the citizens of Pointe Claire want us to do, but it is in accordance with the overall policy of reducing the input into sanitary landfills.”

Pointe Claire residents can put their trees at the side of the road starting at 7 a.m. on Jan. 9. The City of Dorval will also hold a pick up on the same day, and will chip its trees for mulch. Again, all decorations lights, and nails need to be removed. All types of Christmas trees – be it fir, pine, or spruce – can be recycled. Just make sure you don’t toss your artificial tree to the curb. In fact, both McMurchie and Coulter say a natural tree is the way to go in the first place. “You don’t want to be buying plastic trees or other artificial trees, because they eventually go into the garbage dump and take hundreds of years to break down,” Coulter said.

More information on Christmas tree recycling programs can be found on the cities’ websites.

Organizations: Tupperware, Contact magazine

Geographic location: Pointe Claire, West Island, Dorval

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