Christmas trees are a canopy for presents, fill homes with the smells of the season, and provide a spectacle of light and color. But as the season wanes, they become a nuisance, dry out, then litter the floor with needles.
Beginning this week, Christmas trees across Thurston County begin their road to a second life as compost as residents kick their once-beloved decoration to the curb. Last January, the county Waste and Recovery Center took in about 65 tons of Christmas trees, county education and outreach specialist Emily Orme said.
Once dropped off, trees are transported to Silver Springs Organics, a commercial composting facility in Rainier, and turned into compost.
“Not only are you saving them from being land-filled, you’re saving the transportation energy as well,” said Orme, who noted that the county sends its landfill refuse 240 miles away to Eastern Washington.
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Depending on where you live, there are options for getting rid of your Christmas tree. Here’s the collection schedule for curbside pickup and drop-off locations.
• Thurston County: 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through Jan. 16 at the Waste and Recovery Center, 2418 Hogum Bay Road N.E. in Lacey.
• LeMay organics/yard waste customers: Place tree in organics bin (no sections longer than 3 feet). Service is free for customers. Residents who have not signed up for this service also may set out their trees for collection; however, the cost is $3.77 per section in Lacey, Olympia and Tumwater; $3.67 per section in Yelm; and $4.62 per section in Rainier.
• Lacey: Place curbside by 8 a.m. Tuesday; Boy Scouts will pick up from 2,300 homes in the northeast area of the city Saturday, according to the City of Lacey.
• Olympia organics/yard waste customers: Place in organics pickup location. Customers with Thursday or Friday service should put trees out by 6 a.m. Saturday. Those with Tuesday or Wednesday service should place trees out by 6 a.m. Jan. 15. Trees more than 6 feet tall must be cut in half.
• Rainier: Take to the drop box at 13010 Rainier Acres Road through Jan. 15 (open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Friday and Saturday).
• Rochester: Take to the drop box at 16500 Sargent Road through Jan. 16 (open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday).
• Tumwater: Households should place trees at the nearest street corner by 6 a.m. Jan. 10.
• Tenino: Take to the corner of McClellan Street and Sussex Avenue through Sunday.
• Yelm: Take to Yelm City Park any time through Jan. 10.
• Shelton: Bill McTurnal Enterprises at 721 Kamilche Lane accepts trees during daylight hours through Sunday.