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Chipper time of year
Program recycles old trees
recycling 6 jd
Cliff Funderburg, right, and Megan Gravitt carefully unload a tree at last year's event. - photo by File photo
At a glance

* Anyone wishing to recycle a live Christmas tree can bring it to the Cumming or Suwanee Home Depot stores on Jan. 9, Vickery Creek Elementary School through Jan. 9, or any county recycling center until Jan. 23.

* Those wishing to have their trees picked up by Boy Scout Troop 245, should call (678) 624-9944 or e-mail Please leave name, address and phone number. Calls will be taken until Friday night.
As beautiful as that Christmas tree looks today, it could someday spruce up a garden or trail.

When the Christmas decorations come down, families can recycle their trees through Keep Forsyth County Beautiful’s annual “Bring One for the Chipper” program.

They need only to bring the trees to a participating site and put them on the pile, said Tammy Wright, the county’s environmental service manager.

Vickery Creek Elementary is taking trees through Jan. 9. The Cumming and Suwanee Home Depots will accept trees on Jan. 9.

Residents can also drop off trees at any county recycling center until Jan. 23.

Staff and volunteers will be present Jan. 9 to put trees through the wood chippers.

Anyone dropping off a tree must remove any stands, lights and ornaments.

This statewide recycling effort started in 1991 in response to a Georgia law that prevented trees from going to regular landfills.

Forsyth County has participated every year since 1994.

Last year, residents dropped off 5,583 trees for recycling. Statewide, the program has handled 4.8 million trees.

“It tends to be the same people have live trees year after year,” Wright said. “Those people are familiar with our program and they appreciate what we do.”

Mulch from the trees is then offered free to residents.

The wood chips are best for nature trails or keeping moisture around plants, Wright said.

Some residents also pick up whole trees and drop them in lakes or coves as habitats for fish, she said.

This year, residents can request a free truckload (15 to 20 cubic feet) of mulch from the Keep Georgia Beautiful Web site before Jan. 9.

“But you have to be willing to take a truckload,” Wright said. “It’s a lot of chips.”

Boy Scout Troop 245 offers another tree service that comes straight to the curb.

For those unable or not willing to bring their own trees to the chipper, Scouts will pick them up on Jan. 2.

“Sometimes people don’t really have a way to haul [the tree],” said John Rice, assistant Scout master for the troop.

While offered as a free community service, the Scouts, ages 11 to 18, are asking for a $10 donation that will go toward supplies.

The troop did the same fundraiser last year, recycling more than 200 trees and raising more than $3,000 for a trip to Cape Canaveral, Fla., Rice said.

The sounds of “fa la la” sounded as the trees left curbs last year. The boys sang a tree recycling carol to the tune of “Deck the Halls.”

“They like to get out and do community service projects,” Rice said.