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Longmont Residents Can Avoid Sending Christmas Trees, Other Leftover Holiday Items to Landfills

December 22, 2018
Broken or nonfunctioning Christmas lights can be recycled at the Longmont Waste Diversion Center, as can other holiday season waste including Christmas trees.

Christmas tree recycling

Longmont advises residents to remove all tinsel, light strands, ornaments, decorations, nails, beads, screws and tree stands from their holiday trees before dropping them off at any of several locations for recycling. Do not leave other materials, such as garlands, wreaths, or trash with the trees, and do not drop off bagged trees.

Four satellite Christmas tree drop-off locations will be open Dec. 26 to Jan. 6:

• Roosevelt Park. In the parking lot south of Eighth Avenue and Pratt Street, by the Roosevelt Activity Pool.

• Garden Acres Park. In the parking lot at 18th Avenue and Tulip Street.

• Kanemoto Park. In the parking lot at South Pratt Parkway and South Coffman Street.

• Centennial Park. In the parking lot at Alpine Street and Verdant Circle.

Longmont residents also can take holiday trees to Longmont’s Waste Diversion Center, 140 Martin St., which is open 7:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Once again this year and early next, Longmont has prepared post-Christmas opportunities for residents to recycle their holiday trees.

The city also is again planning to give residents the opportunity to recycle or compost a variety of other holiday leftovers, including light strands, some wrapping papers and white blocks of packaging foam.

Charles Kamenides, the city’s waste services manager, said on average households increase their solid waste 25 percent during the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Longmont offers a number of options for recycling or composting many of those holiday-related items rather than having city crews haul them to a landfill.

Last year, Longmont residents dropped off nearly 2,000 holiday trees between Dec. 26 and March 31, Kamenides said.

That included trees collected at the Waste Diversion Center and satellite locations in the parking lots of several parks.

Kamenides said most of the trees dropped off for recycling are ground up and used to make compost and mulch. Each year, the city uses a number of those discarded holiday trees to create natural habitats for fish in ponds and lakes in the parks system.

This season’s satellite tree collections will be available from Dec.26 through Jan. 6, and the Waste Diversion Center will continue to accept holiday trees after that.

The Waste Diversion Center also will have special bins where people can deposit wrapping paper from Dec. 26 to Jan. 18.

Wrapping paper normally is considered a contaminant in the center’s conventional recycling bins, because of its high clay and ink content and its low fiber content and should not be put into utility customers’ curbside carts for city pickups of recyclable materials.

Recycling other holiday items

Information about items such as lights, wrapping paper, and other items Longmont will or will not accept for recycling or composting after the holidays can be found at:

• City of Longmont Holiday Recycling web page: tinyurl.com/y8wq3lan

• Longmont Waste Diversion Center web page: tinyurl.com/y9cjzrfb

• Eco-Cycle’s 2018 Holiday Recycling Guide: bit.ly/2BWEHtp

Tissues and some wrapping paper can be composted. Longmont residents can take compostable wrapping paper to the Waste Diversion Center and subscribers to Longmont’s program of residential collections of compostable materials can put such wrapping paper into their home collection bins.

People should not, however, put metallic wrapping paper, ribbons, bows, glitter, ornaments, fluorescent paper or wrapping paper covered with tape into recyclable materials or compostable materials bins, official said.

Longmont collected about four roll-off dumpsters of wrapping paper — about 8 tons ) of paper — during last year’s post-holiday period, Kamenides said.

Strings of holiday lights and attached light bulbs also can be taken to the Waste Diversion Center and deposited in designated bins through Jan. 18. The city asks that people bundle the cords and tie them so they don’t get caught in processing machinery.

A marked container for light strands is already in place at the center, Kamenides said.

Longmont collected about 500 pounds of holiday light strands last year, he said.

The Waste Diversion Center also will accept white block Styrofoam typically used in packaging.

The center will not, however, accept Styrofoam packing peanuts, bubble wrap or loose foam wrapping sheets or plastic bags in those drop-off containers.

Longmont gets, on average, about two to three roll-off dumpster containers of white block foam Styrofoam per week during the holiday season, Kamenides said.

Residents can deposit holiday cards in their curbside recyling bins unless they are embossed with foil or other non-paper materials, or include ribbons, photos or photo paper.

City officials said dark-colored envelopes, such as red or green, are not recyclable, but white or light-colored paper envelopes are OK to put into curbside recycling containers.

As is the case each winter, and not just during the immediate post-holiday season, Longmont’s Waste Diversion Center also is prepared to help dispose of broken branches that might result from snowstorm-damaged trees, Kamenides said.

“In the event of a snowstorm that causes significant damage to trees, the city works to remove tree limbs from the right-of-way to ensure sidewalks and roads are passable. Residents and business owners are expected to manage broken limbs on private property,” Kamenides said.

The Waste Diversion Center is open Monday through Saturday during and after storm events to give residents an option for disposing of broken tree limbs, he said.

Contact Staff Writer John Fryar at 303-684-5211 or jfryar@times-call.com or twitter.com/jfryartc

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