This morning I heard the garbage truck roll down our block. Our garbage man was picking up everyone’s trash. This is also the week that Christmas trees are supposed to be left out on the block to be collected. I saw the garbage man throw the Christmas trees in the same truck as the rest of the trash and rushed out with camera in hand. I managed to snap this single shot of the trash man throwing the Christmas trees in the back of his truck with all the rest of the garbage.
In my community residents are required to leave out the Christmas trees and they are taken for free if they are completely free of tinsel and other decorations. I called the Waste Management Company at 10 AM this morning to confirm this. I spoke with a lady named Tamika. She said that these trees are supposed to be recycled into compost and are usually picked up on a third run separate from the trash or standard recycling runs so that the trees will get delivered to their proper location for processing. This is what the company is TELLING the public. Confirmed by this telephone call.
However, do you see the problem here? Our trash man is not doing a third run. He is throwing it in with all the other trash. You cannot tell me that this is going to be separated later at the dumping location – how would you sort out all that clutter? My point is that the corporate Waste Management firm is lying to the public about where the trees are going.
This makes me angry. Why, you ask? Because millions of trees are dumped in landfills or are illegally dumped on public property annually according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). While it seems like a small problem at first glance, in my opinion it is a huge problem for the environment.
#1 – the tree is being wasted when it could be reused for mulch or compost – and that would be a very smart use of a product from a Christmas tree farm which keeps it out of the landfill.
#2 – our landfills are filling up rapidly. As space gets more and more crowded, we humans begin to face a larger and larger problem – where is our garbage going to go when there is no more space?
Our environment is suffering because of corporate greed and we need corporations and communities to work together honestly, not dishonestly. Why is the Waste Management Company lying to us?
Communities can definitely reduce Christmas tree waste. For example, the simplest method is to grind the trees into mulch. This mulch can be reused on city and community property or given to residents. From a gardening perspective, mulching returns nutrients into the soil. It also helps conserve moisture and protect plants against winter freeze.
There may be ways you can get YOUR city to help improve the Christmas Tree landfill issue. Please contact your local city administration and ask if the city would consider a “brush pick up” after the holidays? They can pick up all those discarded pine trees and turn them into mulch for the local residents. Christmas trees can be the gift that keeps on giving if the trees are turned into mulch or ground into compost.