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Jan 2, 2012 6:40 AM

Where to recycle your Christmas tree

TUCSON - This week many of us will start taking down our trees. The Treecycle program has been going on for more than 15 years; it's a great way to get rid of that old tree. Instead of putting trees in with the garbage at local landfills, the City of Tucson is continuing to recycle them.

"We can't fit them in the garbage cans, we don't want them in our dumpsters and we don't want them on the side of the road, so we really started focusing on centralizing the collections," says Francis LaSala, City of Tucson Environmental Manager.

"We are absolutely saving a lot of land, a lot of what we call airspace, by not putting any green-waste in the ground," says David Pennington, Operations Manager The Fairfax Co.

The woodchips can be used for many things after the trees have been grinded and shredded.

"They're used for stabilization at the landfill and then people take them and put them in their gardens. It makes some really nice potpourri for a while, smells like Christmas for a while," says LaSala.

"We also make mulch, decorative wood chips, we mix in and make top soil also so, there's lots of good reasons to not put it in the ground," says Pennington.

The Fairfax Co. also sends truckloads of the chips to Frito Lay in Casa Grande.

"They run a steam generator which powers their plant. It's fire fed and fed with our material to keep the steam pumping."

Reducing and reusing is the motto here and last year over 14-thousand trees were collected.

"It's a lot of space that we would be losing but we're turning it around and getting it right back out to the community."

IMPORTANT: The City of Tucson will not collect Christmas trees from curbs or alleys. Also, make sure to remove all ornaments, decorations and tree stands before dropping off your tree.

Don't bring anything other than trees to the sites, you will be charged with illegal dumping.

The program continues through Sunday, January 8, 2012.

TreeCycle sites are located throughout Tucson and Oro Valley. They're open during daylight hours, seven days a week:

1. Oro Valley lot, "Naranja Town Site," 660 W. Naranja Dr.
2. Rillito Race Track, 4502 N. 1st Ave., east parking lot (follow signs)
3. Udall Park, 7200 E. Tanque Verde Rd., south of ball fields (follow signs)
4. Golf Links Sports Park, northwest of Craycroft Rd. and Golf Links Rd.
5. Tucson Rodeo Grounds, northeast of Irvington Rd. and 6th Ave.
6. Los Reales Landfill, 5300 E. Los Reales Rd., (follow signs)
7. Silverbell Site, northeast of Goret Rd. and Silverbell Rd. (follow signs)
8. Purple Heart Park, southeast corner of Rita Rd. and Esmond Loop
9. Randolph Golf Course, 600 S. Alvernon Way, southeast portion of parking lot

Call the Recycling InfoLine at 791-5000 or visit www.tucsonaz.gov/esd for more information.

** You can get free woodchips at Randolph and Udall Park.

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