Its blue-green needles had begun to shed.
But the 6-foot Fraser fir that was recycled on Monday was filled with memories for John and Michele Wanner of Olympia.
After all, it was the first Christmas tree for their children, ages 5 months and 21/2.
“We’ve always been deployed as military,” John Wanner said as he helped his wife unload the tree from the top of their sport utility vehicle.
Having a real Christmas tree – and recycling it afterward – is something they hope will become a family tradition, he said.
From now through Jan. 16, South Sound residents can recycle their Christmas trees for free at the Thurston County Waste and Recovery Center and several other sites. Even flocked trees will be accepted without a fee.
Many of the trees dropped off at the Waste and Recovery Center will be ground up into wood chips, and turned into “hogfuel,” which can be burned to supply energy, according to Thurston County compost and yard waste operator John Cox Jr.
“It ends up going to Simpson Tacoma Kraft Mill, and they burn it to fuel their turbines,” he said.
Before recycling a tree, it’s important to remove all twine, ornaments, lights, tinsel and nails; otherwise a worker could get injured if a nonwood item makes its way into the grinder and other machinery, Cox said.
Limbs, boughs and greenery can be brought to the Waste and Recovery Center, but regular yard waste rates apply to those items.
Cox said the week after New Year’s is usually the busiest time for Christmas tree recycling.
Customers need to go through the scales first, and let attendants know they’re dropping off a tree.
Lisa Pemberton: 360-754-5433
• LeMay compost collection/yard waste customers can place their trees near compost carts in sections cut to 3 feet or less. For more information, call 360-923-0111.
• For City of Olympia garbage customers whose regular trash pickup is on Thursday or Friday, tree pickup will be Saturday. For those with Tuesday or Wednesday service, pickup will be Jan. 14. Make sure your tree is in your regular trash pickup location by 6 a.m. on your collection day. Call 360-753-8509.
• Lacey residents will have their trees picked up by city crews; they also can request a donation-based pickup from local Boy Scout troops. For city pickup, place trees at the curb by 8 a.m. Monday. The Boy Scouts will be around Saturday. Call 360-491-3214.
• Tumwater residents should place trees at the nearest street corner by 8 a.m. Monday. Call 360-754-4150.
• All Thurston County residents can take trees to the Waste and Recovery Center from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays or 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through Jan. 16 at 2418 Hogum Bay Road N.E. in Lacey.
• Rainier residents can drop trees off from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays until Jan. 14 at 13010 Rainier Acres Road.
• Rochester residents can take trees to a drop box from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays, Saturdays and Sundays through Jan. 15 at 16500 Sargent Road.
• Yelm residents can take trees to Yelm City Park anytime until Jan. 10.
• Tenino residents can drop off trees at 418 Wichman St. S. through Jan. 15.
• Shelton-area residents can take trees to Bill McTurnal Enterprises, 721 Kamilche Lane, during daylight hours until Jan. 9. On weekends, trees can be left by the closed gate.