Try recycling rather than throwing away Christmas trees after the holidays, for the benefit of the environment, Riverside County officials said Monday.
According to the Department of Waste Resources, residents can ensure trees are turned into "nutrient rich" mulch by participating in the agency's curbside pickup program, or taking seasonal firs directly to the Badlands and Lamb Canyon landfills east of Moreno Valley.
"The holiday season always ends with plenty of returns, and your Christmas tree is no exception," according to an agency statement. "Return your natural Christmas tree to the ground it grew in by dropping it off at a county landfill to be recycled into a nutrient-rich soil amendment.''
The recycling program involves turning tannenbaums into chips and combining them with food waste from the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning to create compost that enhances the soil onto which it's poured.
Trees must be stripped of decorations, including lights and tinsel, before they can be recycled. Flocked trees are not accepted and are supposed to be chopped up and put into trash receptacles.
Most trash haulers serving the county retrieve firs for recycling in the two-week period after Christmas.
Those residents who don't have curbside trash pickup, or who miss the deadline, can drop their trees, without charge, at any one of the following locations until Jan. 2:
-- A. Lua Wood Recycling, 18938 Mermack Ave., Lake Elsinore;
-- B.P. John Recycling, 28700 Matthews Road, Menifee;
-- Burrtec Recycle Center, 41-800 Corporate Way, Palm Desert;
-- Burrtec/Nelson Transfer Station, 1830 Agua Mansa Road, Riverside;
-- Badlands Landfill, 31125 Ironwood Ave., Moreno Valley; and
-- Lamb Canyon Landfill, 16411 Lamb Canyon Road, Beaumont.
More information is available at http://www.rcwaste.org/wasteguide/holiday.