Alle-Kiski Valley municipalities provide Christmas tree drop-off sites – Tribune-Review

Published: Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, 12:06 a.m.
Updated 4 hours ago

Despite the snow, it’s still possible to have a “green” holiday season.

There are Christmas tree recycling drop-offs throughout the Alle-Kiski Valley that are accepting the trees for free.

Most of these spent holiday beauties will be ground into mulch or composted. In coastal areas such as New Jersey, recycled Christmas trees are being used to rebuild sand dunes on beaches that were hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Whether someone recycles or not depends on proximity to Christmas tree-recycling sites, according to Natalie Reese, the program director at Westmoreland CleanWays.

The nonprofit works with communities and organizations to coordinate and publicize tree recycling.

Proximity shouldn’t be a problem for Alle-Kiski Valley residents who want to recycle their trees. There are 20 locations in Westmoreland County for tree recycling — including in Allegheny Township, Lower Burrell, Murrysville and New Kensington. In addition, all of the Allegheny County parks local to the A-K Valley have drop-off sites.

Getting residents to recycle has been the aim of Burrell High School Environmental Club, which has co-sponsored tree recycling with Lower Burrell for more than a decade.

On the next two Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon, Burrell students will help residents drop off their trees at City Hall.

“This helps teach the students to work outside of the school, and it gives residents a place to take their tree — it’s a good cause for the community and the environment,” said Bryan Mike, a Burrell biology teacher and a sponsor of the environmental club.

Reese estimates that the recycling centers in Westmoreland County take in an average of 1,500 trees a year.

“We want to get that number up,” she said. “I think that there are more trees out there.”

There are lots of live Christmas trees out there. Pennsylvania is one of the top five Christmas tree-producing states in the country, according to the National Christmas Tree Association.

“The problem with Christmas tree recycling,” Reese said, “is that we not only need a site for a drop-off, but we need a facility willing to take the trees and mulch them or put them into some sort of compost pile.”

There is a limited number of businesses interested in using the trees for mulch, according to Reese.

If municipalities have chippers, they can make good use of the trees by using the mulch for trails, she said.

Mary Ann Thomas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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