OCRRA to open compost sites for Christmas tree recycling

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In Onondaga County, OCRRA is offering residents the opportunity to recycle their trees and keep them out of landfills.

Most municipalities, including the City of Syracuse, have a pick-up or drop-off program for Christmas trees. Residents should contact their local municipality for specific information on their program.

Although OCRRA doesn TMt accept trees in the blue bin, both the Amboy and Jamesville Compost Sites are open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - noon from January 3-14 for tree drop off.

OCRRA says there is no charge to use either of the OCRRA Compost Sites during January. However, they say wreats are not accepted because of the wire or foam backing they contain.

Next spring the trees will be ground into mulch that OCRRA Compost Site users may haul away for landscaping use.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - In the next few weeks Americans will be taking down their Christmas trees - up to 30 million of them. And it's believed most will end up in landfills... but not in San Francisco.

For Bay Area Christmas trees it's not the end - it's a new beginning.

San Francisco has been recycling Christmas trees for 25 years - and Bob Besso's been a part of it every year. He was at the city's annual Christmas tree-chipping ceremony Tuesday morning.

"We just want to keep people's awareness up. San Francisco has a lot of turnover residents that move in and out all the time, and they might not understand" said Besso, a Recology Recycling & Waste Reduction Manager.

While it seems like a light-hearted event, there's a serious message behind it. Recycling is really the only green way to get rid of a Christmas tree.

"Yes, that's true" said Besso. "We're going to make energy with these trees when we grind them up. And then it's gonna be used for biofuel for a co-generation plant."

The needles are too acidic for composting, and don't just throw them in the trash - they will end up in a landfill, and will emit methane that is harmful to the Earth's atmosphere.

"We're trying to educate the public that we here in America are less than five percent of the world's population" says Kevin Danaher of the San Francisco Department of Environment. "If these go to the landfill, they generate methane as they decompose. Methane is over 20 times as bad for global warming as CO2."

Last year Recology collected 514 tons of Christmas trees for the recycling program. The amount has been steadily increasing every year.

(Information from CBS News and OCRRA was used in this report)

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