County pushes legal tree recycling

County officials are urging residents to dispose of their Christmas trees in the correct — and legal — manner.

Area residents can recycle Christmas trees at five solid waste convenience centers throughout the county through Jan. 31.

The county, in coordination with Garbage Disposal Services (GDS), will also provide curbside collection of trees Jan. 9-20.

Disposal of Christmas trees in regular trash containers is illegal, according to North Carolina law.

“Since Jan. 1, 1993, it is illegal under North Carolina law to dispose of yard waste in a sanitary landfill," said Barry Edwards, Catawba County director of utilities and engineering. “Christmas trees are defined as 'yard waste,’ so they may not be disposed of in regular trash containers at any of the county's solid waste convenience centers.”

Lawmakers approved the N.C. yard waste disposal ban in 1993 to divert thousands of tons of waste from landfills, where it slowly deteriorates and takes up space. Christmas trees, which are mostly Fraser firs, are especially slow to break down over time.

Now, most yard waste is recycled.

“All collected trees are recycled to make compost and mulch,” Edwards said, adding that the mulch and compost is available to Catawba County citizens at the Blackburn Landfill Construction & Demolition site.

Mulch is available for $10.33 per yard, with a three-yard minimum purchase which costs $31, or for $24 per ton. Compost is available for $15.16 per yard, with a three-yard minimum purchase which costs $45.50, or $35 per ton.

“There are no mulch or compost sales on Wednesday,” Edwards added.

All trees taken to convenience sites must be stripped of decorations and ornaments.

No ornaments, bases or other decorations will be taken at curbside pickup.

Residents who have regular curbside solid waste collection may put used Christmas trees out on the day of regular garbage pickup from Jan. 9-20, and a separate truck will come recycle the tree, said Amanda Kain, Catawba County’s waste reduction coordinator.
“Since GDS will collect trees at the curbside from Jan. 9-20, residents should have two opportunities for GDS to pick up trees on their regularly scheduled garbage pick-up day,” she said.

Convenience center locations

Blackburn Convenience Center
3864 Rocky Ford Road, Newton
OPEN: Monday - Saturday; 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bethany Church Road Center
2436 Bethany Church Road, Newton
OPEN: Tuesday - Saturday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Cooksville Convenience Center
3659 Rhoney Farm Road, Vale
OPEN: Friday & Saturday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Oxford Convenience Center
4637 Lookout Dam Road, Catawba
OPEN: Wednesday - Sunday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sherrills Ford Convenience Center
8876 Sherrills Ford Rd, Sherrills Ford
OPEN: Wednesday - Sunday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.