Photo by Elaine Rackley
Robert Clark (left) and Casey Tapley load Christmas trees into a chipper for recycling. The Locust Grove workers are shredding the discarded trees into mulch.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. Those three words are often used to encourage
people to take care of the environment.
The holidays offer an opportunity to put the principles into
practice, according to Edie Yongue, executive director for Keep
Forest Park Beautiful. She said that is why “Bring One for the
Chipper,” is being conducted county-wide in a Christmas-tree
recycling event for Clayton County residents, who will be able to
discard their non-artificial, live Christmas trees.
Until Saturday, Jan. 7, several sites in Clayton are available for
residents to drop off trees to be recycled, including: Riverdale
Middle School, at 400 Roberts Drive, Riverdale; Lillie E. Sudder
Elementary School, 1400 Lake Jodeco Road, in Jonesboro, and Kemp
Elementary School, at 10990 Folsom Road, in Hampton.
Then, on Jan. 7, from 9 a.m., to 4 p.m., Home Depot stores in
Riverdale, Morrow, Lovejoy and Forest Park, will actually take care
of the recycling.
No name has been given to the recycling effort in neighboring Henry
County, but residents can bring their trees to the Henry County
Recycling Center, free of charge, said Henry County spokesperson,
Julie Hoover-Ernst. The Henry County Recycling Center is located at
65 West Asbury Road, in McDonough. Free mulch will be available later.
One Henry County city, Locust Grove, provides for its own
recycling, and the effort already has started. Live trees are chipped
in a parking lot of Locust Grove City Hall.
“We encourage people to bring their live Christmas trees to city hall
to be chipped,” said Ray Fuss, arborist and development inspector for
Locust Grove. “I want to emphasize recycling, because it lessens the
impact on our landfill for the future.”
Mulch is given to those who request it.
Fuss said the mulch is used for architectural landscaping and
composting. “We are part of Tree City USA,” said Fuss. “We [have]
participated in the architectural conservation and landscaping, for
the past 11 years.”
Fuss oversees the selection of trees for the city. For example, he
will be choosing replacement trees for the Locust Grove shops area.
He recently completed a project near the city’s Walmart store, where
nearly 200 species of trees were planted in March.
The Henry County recycling center is open Monday through Friday, from
8 a.m., to 7 p.m., and on Saturday, from 8 a.m., to 2 p.m. For more
information, call (770) 288-6410.
Clayton County has been engaged in tree recycling for 27 years, said
Yongue. The tree recycling program was part of the Keep Clayton
County Beautiful program, until 2010, when the county’s Board of
Commissioners voted to eliminate the program, because of budget cuts,
Yongue said the Christmas tree recycling event is promoted throughout
the county. “We do our best to push this event to all the residents
in the county,” she said. Even so, Yongue said she is astounded by
the number of Christmas trees still being discarded in less-
responsible ways –– ways that are not conducive to protecting the
“With seven [tree recycling] sites,” she said, “we still have
people dumping trees along the side of the roads and ditches.”
She said, in the last three years, she has noticed a decline in
residents recycling trees, with 1,700 to 2,000 trees tallied last
year, compared to about 4,000 holiday trees years ago.
Yongue said on Jan. 7, when the various Home Depot locations chip
trees, volunteers have agreed to deliver the mulch to the homes of
those who request it, free of charge.
However, she said, there is a catch. Those accepting the order must
take the full truckload of mulch (about 5,000 cubic yards).
In addition to asking residents to recycle, Yongue said, Keep Forest
Park Beautiful also is promoting gardening. The Ferry Morse Seed
Manufacturing company will give away free flower seeds.