Christmas trees that have outlived their usefulness in the living room can be returned to the soil from which they came thanks to drop-off points set up by East Valley cities.
Mesa’s solid waste department is encouraging residents to “treecycle” and visit several drop-off locations around the city with their family spruce. Unfortunately, city officials said the giving only pertains to Christmas trees and not other perishable holiday ornaments.
“Flocked trees will not be accepted because the flocking does not break down in the environment, and wreaths will not be accepted because of the metal wiring,” according to Mariano Reyes, Mesa community outreach specialist.
Reyes said residents should remove all nails, stands, tinsels, lights and ornaments from the trees before dropping them off.
Mesa residents can also take their trees directly to the Salt River Landfill at Gilbert Road and the Beeline Highway between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Residents will need to show a current Arizona driver’s license.
Mesa is also accepting donations of live potted trees at least 5 feet tall, which will be planted in city parks. These will be accepted at any Mesa fire station, according to Reyes.
Gilbert and Chandler have set up tree collection sites as well, and both turn the trees into mulch to be used at their respective municipal parks. Gilbert spokeswoman Beth Lucas said the town collects about 50,000 pounds of cut Christmas trees annually and transforms it into sod.
Chandler spokesman Jim Phipps said his city is also taking potted trees to plant in its parks; residents should call (480) 782-2745 to schedule a pickup. They can also be dropped off at the Chandler Community Center, 125 E. Commonwealth Ave., during normal business hours.
Lucas said Gilbert has a couple of new recycling options this year. For one, the town is now accepting gift wrapping in its recycling bins as long as the paper does not contain foil. Bows and ribbons are not recyclable.
Also, the turkey grease collection drive launched over Thanksgiving has been extended to Jan. 7 due to the response from residents. Turkey fryer grease, lard and other used frying oil is being collected at most of the town’s fire stations and at the Household Hazardous Waste collection center at 2224 E. Queen Creek Road. The grease will be given to Gilbert’s AZ BioDiesel for conversion into fuel.